04/10/2007

Talklets, making the web speak

The world of cinema changed when silent movies became talkies, now the same is (slowly) happening with the web. A UK company Textics has developed Talklets accessibility enabling technology.

Talklets is actually a web based service that can perform text-to-speech and a website owner only needs to put Javascript tags on the site which enables a Talklets toolbar which controls the text-to-speech system. It also allows for other functionality such as "right-click" floating toolbars which can be configured per site, the standard toolbar will allow offer the user a dictionary or theasurus look-up on the word the mouse is over. In future it will also allow per site lexicons which can allow for local "buzzwords" to be explained.

Talkets can also take RSS feeds and convert them to MP3s, which is like having a local newsreader.

Textics is part of the Hidden Differences Group which is a company that is trying to make the web accessible, in the UK 20% of the population at least have reading difficulties. Developing countries have an even higher percentage that cant read but almost everyone can speak.
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