BrowseAloud is so much more than just a tool for reading. It's a real assistive technology tool, not just a listening function. Examples of features are that the word being read is highlighted and gives the reader visual support. You can also customise its look and speed. BrowseAloud works on all websites that are connected to it, and can read html, pdf and word. The text can be enlarged, focused and toned down.
The big target group is users who would benefit from assistive technology but who do not have their own resources. 20 to 25 percent of the adult population in Sweden can not assimilate the content of a regular newspaper. The need for reading tools is very large among people who, for various reasons, have trouble reading. These include persons with reading and writing difficulties, with a mother tongue other than Swedish, who have visual impairments or who have learning and cognition problems. Although Sweden generally has good assistive technology resources, there are still very large groups that do not have access to client-based tools. Then BrowseAloud can be of great help.
BrowseAloud has developed a lot during these 11 years and most of the developments are thanks to feedback from users. Of course, the purpose of the tool is to cater for people’s reading needs and then we need to meet the persons who being helped by it to know how they want Browse Aloud to work. It's always very fun and educational to meet users and hear how much they are benefiting from the tool. We participate in fairs and exhibitions, and also invite organisations and individuals to meetings, focus groups and tests. Every time I sell, I know that the web becomes a bit more accessible to users.
Funka took BrowseAloud to Sweden after that individuals and organisations had complained for a long time about existing services. BrowseAloud was launched in Sweden thanks to the disability movement!
Texthelp works, just like Funka, near its users. Basically, there is a great deal of knowledge from dyslexia tools like Read & Write, which is used on a large scale in schools in many countries. For several years, they have specifically worked with built-in tools in Chrome and other platforms, as well as library services for people with reading and writing difficulties.
Not to forget, Funka offers BrowseAloud free of charge to all disability organisations in Sweden. It's a way for us to give back a little bit to the disability movement.