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RE: Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Visitors Can Now Listen to Your Website


From: John Foliot - WATS.ca
Date: Jun 30, 2005 1:50PM

Austin, Darrel wrote:
> So, outside of the PR mumbo jumbo, what is this? Is it like
> any other screen
> reader in that it reads text in a systhesized manner? The
> main benefit being
> that the end-user doesn't have to purchase software?

No, the developer must do the purchasing. From their site:

"Browsealoud is a subscription-based solution to speech enable website
It is unique in its delivery concept. The software is free to download and
the information service provider pays an annual charge to speech enable
their web site."

So: end users must download a plug-in, *AND* content developers must
purchase a subscription license. Not sure exactly who the target market is,
as those users who require audio "enhancement" will probably seek out a
solution that goes beyond web content (i.e. a screen reader).

They appear to have made some in-roads in the UK, but IMHO this tool falls
into the also-ran category (with other stop-gap solutions such as BBC's
Betsie and Lift's Text Transcoder). I honestly don't see significant
adoption any time in the future; it's been around for a couple of years
already. With the emergence of integrated speech tools in browsers (Opera,
Safari) and Open Source solutions (Fangs, Fire Vox, etc.) I can't see savvy
site owners spending the money.

Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-482-7053