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Website Speech Enabled using 'browsealoud' software

Website Speech Enabled using 'browsealoud' softwareSpeech enabling our website

This website is now speech-enabled, which means that you can download free software onto your personal computer and have the site read aloud to you.

The free software is called browsealoud, and is used on over 2000 websites in the UK and USA. Browsealoud is a Windows browser plug-in designed for use with Internet Explorer 4 upwards or Netscape Navigator. If you install the browsealoud plugin onto your PC, you can have the web pages on the Endeavour Housing Association, North Star Housing Group or Teesdale Housing Association website read to you.

Why speech enable our website?

Speech enabling our website provides an additional way of accessing our content for people who find it hard to read. This includes those with dyslexia or learning difficulties, those for whom English is not their first language, or anyone with a mild visual impairment. It is not designed to replace other screen readers.

What is browsealoud?

Browsealoud is a solution that allows you to have website content read to you. As you move the cursor over text, it is spoken aloud. Browsealoud is free to download and you have control over the voice, word pronunciations and speech highlighting.

How does it work?

You download a free, small browser plug-in. Once the plug-in has been installed, content on this site can be spoken aloud.

Does it work on all pages?

Browsealoud will read every webpage on our site. It can also read pdfs in Adobe Reader Version 6.0 onwards. This meets the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Level A guidelines for accessibility.

Can I customise browsealoud?

Yes. Once plugged in, look for the browsealoud icon in your system tray, which is usually at the bottom right hand corner of your screen (beside the system clock). Right click on the icon and choose 'open browsealoud settings' from the menu. The speech tab on the settings window enables you to choose a male or female voice, and change the speed, pitch and volume of the reader. To read the entire page from where your cursor points, check the 'Continue reading from pointer' box. Otherwise Browsealoud will only read the individual sentences you point to.

For further help and assistance with the Browsealoud product take a look at the Browsealoud FAQs on their website.

Downloading Browsealoud

Click on the image below and you will be taken to an external site where you will find full instructions to carry out the download and installation. A browsealoud icon will be placed in your system tray which is at the bottom right of your browser.

Download Browsealoud

Changing text size in Internet Explorer

IE 7 / 8

IE 7 was the first version of Internet Explorer to have a size-change facility permanently on view: the button in the bottom-right corner. This can be used to zoom the whole page (text and images).

Alternatively :

  1. Select menu item View / Zoom;
  2. Click on the desired size.

You can also adjust the zoom quickly by holding the Ctrl key down and moving the mouse wheel.

To adjust the font:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Fonts” button;
  4. Select the required font;
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.

There is also an option to ignore the font sizes specified by the page author. Often this will make pages more readable, but not always. You can find it as follows:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Accessibility” button;
  4. Tick the option “ignore font sizes specified on webpages”
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.

IE 9

Internet Explorer 9 is similar to 7/8, but the always-visible control has been removed. You can now use Ctrl & '+' and Ctrl & '-' in the same way as Firefox.

IE 6

To adjust the text size (in IE 6 this however only works on some sites):

  1. Select menu item View / Text Size
  2. Click on the desired size. (The dot indicates the one currently selected.)

You can also adjust the text size quickly by holding the Ctrl key down and moving the mouse wheel. This works in the opposite direction to IE 7!

To adjust the font:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Internet Options;
  2. Select the “General” tab;
  3. Press the “Fonts” button;
  4. Select the required font;
  5. Press the “OK” button;
  6. Press the “OK” button.

Changing text size in Opera

In Opera 8 / 9 / 10:

  1. Select menu item Tools / Preferences (or press Alt-P);
  2. Select tab “Web pages”;
  3. Click the button next to “Normal font”;
  4. Select the font and size you like;

You can control fonts in more detail on the ‘Advanced’ tab.

Opera was the first browser in which one could rapidly zoom in and out on a page with the mouse-wheel: hold the Ctrl key depressed, and move the mouse wheel up or down. Or use the ‘+’ and ‘-’ keys on the numeric keypad, and ‘6’ to return to 100%. In Opera 10, the ‘6’ no longer works; one has to use Ctrl & ‘0’.

In Opera you can also set a minimum text size, so if a site uses some reasonable-sized text and some tiny text, you can force the tiny text to be readable. This is set in the ‘Advanced’ panel, as above.

Changing text size in Firefox

Firefox offers various ways of setting text size:

  • zoom in and out by holding the Ctrl key down and moving the mouse wheel;
  • zoom the text size in and out by using Ctrl & ‘+’ and Ctrl & ‘-’.
  • set the font in menu Tools / Options.

This is essentially the same in all versions up until now (version 3.6 at the time of writing). However where earlier versions only adjusted the text size, Firefox now zooms the whole page, in the manner pioneered by Opera.

Changing text size in Safari

In Safari one can zoom the text size in and out with Command + and Command -
The Command key on a Macintosh is indicated by an Apple or cloverleaf symbol. Or you can use menu View / Make Text Bigger.

Changing text size in Chrome

Google Chrome has a zoom option: click on the spanner button to the right of the address bar, and this opens a menu which includes a zoom option. One can also zoom with Ctrl & mouse-wheel.

The option to change the default text size is accessed as follows:

  • Click on the spanner button;
  • Select options;
  • Select "under the hood";
  • Scroll down until you find "Web Content";
  • Click the "change font and language settings" button;
  • Select "Fonts and encoding" tab;
  • Click the "change" button for the font type (serif / sans serif) you want. There doesn't however seem to be any way of defining whether you want your default font to be serif or sans-serif, other than setting both types to the same font.
  • Select the font and size you like.