Once upon a time I used an app called VoiceBrief, I loved it! But it was buggy, often crashing and it never got updated before finally disappearing from the App Store. I have recommended the likes of ‘Capti’ and ‘Pocket’ to learners to curate material and listen on the go (we always have places to go and listening on the go can increase productivity) but I have never come across any app that came close to VoiceBrief, certainly some could read web pages but I never found them able to read from social media and certainly not effectively. Fast forward a few years and I am commuting more than ever and consuming so much audio media I have been finding it more difficult to access new content having exhausted most material. The app allows you to listen to key headlines and then, when interested, add the headlines as articles to read [out] in full later, with the app highlighting the tezt as it is read out. The app is straightforward and does not have a big learning curve, but what really appeals to me is how much you can customise the app – including the voice and controls.
The developer States that “The app is tested to be accessible by visually impaired users. It has many features specifically tailored to users with disabilities like integrated Bookshare service, support for DAISY books, dyslexia friendly font, many visual settings, keyboard shortcuts for the most of commands available (with various options to navigate the text) in the app and on the iPhone it can be controlled with headphone or Bluetooth hands-free buttons and functions of those buttons can be customized. Combined with the interactive web feature available in the app the latter may make the web much easier to access on the mobile device for a person with eyesight or related disability.”
The ability to skip and add articles via the remote is an excellent feature and really increases the usability of the app. This is an app that I feel is going to really play a key role in my commute once I return after the summer break, or for anyone that can take the opportunity to consume content on the go and not just for the accessibility benefits the app offers.
Here are the app store pages for Speech Central:
- iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speech-central-web-text-to/id1127349155?mt=8
- Mac: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speech-central-text-to-speech-suite/id1223093645?mt=12
- Windows: http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/d1e12ec7-86cb-49d6-90b9-dce002f9cfdc
- Android: https://www.amazon.com/Labsii-Speech-Central-Web-Text-To/dp/B06VV818S4/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1487764972&sr=1-1&keywords=speech+central
The App Developer has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review and I have received no payment for this unbiased review.