BrowseAloud reads website content out loud. It also offers several other features, including:
- A basic translator
- A "simplifier" which creates a simplified version of the webpage
- A screen mask to highlight the area that you are reading and darken the background
- Text magnification, to magnify the text that is being read
- An MP3 maker to make a recording of the section that is being read
How do I use BrowseAloud?
To open the Browsealoud toolbar, click on the "Listen / Translate" button that appears on the top blue bar of ElectionAccess.org. A screenshoot of the toolbar is below. As seen in the photo of the toolbox, there are ten different buttons, which allow you to customize your listening experience
Once the toolbar is open, simply click or hover any text to hear it read aloud. If you wish to stop listening to text, click on the "Power" button on the far left of the toolbox (highlighted in orange in the image above).
As seen in the photo of the toolbox, there are nine different buttons, which allow you to customize your listening experience.
To adjust the settings, you can click on the "Settings" button (the wheel) to open up a new menu. You will be asked if you would like register for an account. If you do not, you can click the "Skip" button to the user preferences menu. A photo of the preferences menu is below:
As you can see, the preferences menu allows users to adjust the color of the highlighter, change the size of the text magnifier, adjust the voice speed, notify the listener when there is a link, and the use of BrowseAloud's PDF viewer. Click save to keep your selected preferences. To exit without saving, click the "X" button in the upper left corner of the menu.
To activate the other features, click on the other buttons in the BrowseAloud toolbar.
As mentioned before, the first button on the left is the "Power" button, which tells BrowseAloud to turn on or off entirely. The second button, with a sideways arrow, tells BrowseAloud to either start or to stop reading text. If this button is left on, BrowseAloud will begin reading when you hover over any text and will not stop until until you press the second button again.
The third button, which shows a globe, is the translate button. Clicking on this button will show a dropdown menu with different language options, as seen in the screenshot below:
There are several different languages available, from different types of English to French, Spanish, and Arabic. It may take a minute or two for BrowseAloud to convert the website into a different language. This translation is not intended to be a professional translation, but it may offer additional access to the website.
The fourth button, box with an image of mountains and a sun, is the picture dictionary. To use it, press the button before you hover over any text. Select some text to search for a picture. Once you have selected some text, BrowseAloud will show a picture related to the text you have selected. To see an example of what the picture dictionary does, look at the screenshot below:
As you might see, the word “Listen” is highlighted. The picture dictionary shows pictures of people listening.
The fifth button, a box with MP3 written inside, is an MP3 maker which can be used to make a recording of the section that is being read. To use it, highlight the text which you would like to be read. Once you have selected the text, press the MP3 button. A dropdown menu will appear where you can name the MP3 recording where it says “Save MP3 As.” Next, hit the “Generate” button to create the MP3 recording of the selected text. Once the MP3 has been generated, select “Download File” to download and play the MP3 recording. To see an example of what the MP3 maker does, look at the screenshot below:
The sixth button in the center, which shows an eye surrounded by two bars, is the screen mask. To see an example of what the screen mask does, look at the screenshot below:
As you might see, there is a highlighted portion of text (this is what BrowseAloud is reading). To further emphasize the text, any place where the text is not being read is covered by a transparent dark "mask". This helps the listener know which part of the website is being read.
The seventh button, a magnifying glass with a large letter "A", is the text magnifier. Simply click on the button before you begin reading, and as BrowseAloud reads, a bar at the top will appear with a large text version of the content that is being read.
The eighth button on the far right of the toolbox shows a series of bars and an arrow. This is the "simplify" button, which creates a simple version of the webpage that you are viewing (see example in the screenshot below). It works best with webpages that have a main article or content, such as an article from the Latest News section or the constitution page of a country.
As shown, the "simplify" button creates a version of the article where there are fewer distractions from sidebars or other content, instead focusing only on the main content of the page.
The ninth button shows a wheel. This is the settings button described earlier.
The tenth button, on the far right of the toolbox, is a question mark. It briefly reviews what each button does, as shown below:
Support for using BrowseAloud
If you have trouble using BrowseAloud on ElectionAccess.org, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For BrowseAloud problems that are not limited to ElectionAccess.org, please use these support services:
Telephone: (888) 248-4947