Using Self-Voicing Browsers
A self-voicing application is an application that provides an aural interface without requiring a separate screen reader. Traditionally, talking web browsers had been specially created, but a more recent trend has embedded artificial intelligent (AI) capabilities into mainstream web browsers with cloud based hosting services.
In 2004, Opera Software created a self-voicing and speech-recognition extension for the Windows version of their web browser, and in 2005 Charles L. Chen created FireVox, an extension that adds speech capabilities to the Mozilla Firefox web browser on Mac, Windows, or Linux. The voice browser presents information aurally, using pre-recorded audio file playback or text-to-speech synthesis software. A voice browser obtains information using speech recognition and a keypad. As speech recognition and web technologies have matured, voice applications are deployed commercially in many industries and voice browsers are supplanting traditional proprietary interactive voice response (IVR) systems.
Artificial Intelligent (AI) Compliance
However, it is important to note that self-voicing browsers, despite vendor claims, cannot yet replace screen reader assistive technology, as they do not have the suffisticated screen reader interface required by blind users. The self-voicing browsers offer assistance to people who have trouble typing, moving a mouse, gesturing or reading a screen. Many people with disabilities have difficulty using computers and handheld devices. Self-voicing browsers allow people with limited dexterity to overcome barriers. Such as, those with quadriplegia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and other conditions that make it challenging to use touchscreen smartphones and tablets. There are a number of reasons why you might consider using self-voicing on a site, butWCAG compliance should not be one.
- Overlay Fact Sheet
- TPG: Bolt-on Accessibility, 5 gears in reverse, by Steve Faulkner.
- Tenon.io blog: Web Accessibility Overlays Don’t Work, By Karl Groves
- Pneuma Solutions: The Fast Food Approach to Web Accessibility
- Mosen At Large Podcast: The AccessiBe controversy – Can AI make the web fully accessible in a few short years, or might it make matters worse?
Some All-Inclusive Cloud Based Platforms
- AccessiBe: AI is the key to scalable and affordable website remediation
- Essential self-voicing browser
- AudioEye Personalization Service
- UserWay Accessibility Solution
- WebAnywhere Screen Reader On-the-Go
- A Design Day project with vision: Students create improved screen reader for the visually impaired, APRIL 29, 2021