At this point, I know of a few Web-based, rich media players that have various levels of accessibility, and a few possible text-to-speech (TTS) solutions. This post is a follow up to my earlier one about Ideal Criteria for People with Intellectual Disabilities to Listen to Web Text.
Accessible Rich Media Players Embeddable in Web Sites
- JW Player with the JW Controls Accessibility Plug-in. It plays MP3s and videos, including YouTube videos. It is skinnable and re-sizable. It has an intriguing Google Analytics plug-in that enables tracking of which videos are watched and for how long. It’s cost is low. It may be the most promising for the Clear Helper Web site.
- Nomensa Accessible Media Player. Its Web site’s description says it plays videos and audio, but not which formats. It does say it plays YouTube videos. There is no mention of skinning or resizing capability. The site says its cost is low, but there is no pricing information on it.
- CodePlex Accessible Media Player is Silverlight-based, Microsoft’s Flash competitor. It is in its first release.
- Easy YouTube is designed to play YouTube videos only. It has an interface with easy-to-use controls and big buttons. I am not sure if it has any built-in accessibility features.
Text-To-Speech For Web Sites
- TextAloud converts text to MP3s and has natural-voice fonts. TextAloud can be used on a Web Site and can generate text on-the-fly. Its cost is low, but the cost of its compatible natural voices for the Web start at $1500.
- Cognable Speeka converts Web text to MP3s. It uses open-source voices only. It may have its own embeddable player, but there is no information about its accessibility. It was developed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities. No cost is listed on its Web site.
- SpokenText converts Web text to MP3s, but does not appear to have an on-the-fly generation capability. It has a variety of low, annual subscription costs. SpokenText also has a Firefox extension.
Other TTS Applications
To manually convert Web page text to MP3s, there are non-Web TTS programs I could use, such as Alive Text To Speech or SpeakText. Previous posts mentioned other such programs I have used, but I will likely try both TextAloud or Cognable Speaka.
I found a couple of Web-embeddable TTS applications with avatars (talking, lip-syncing characters). I might experiment with CrazyTalk or Cognable Avatar TTS.
One thought on “Accessible Rich Media Players & TTS for Web Sites”
Cognable’s Speeka is a free (work in progress) service, I was working on a project [www.inclusivenewmedia.org] which required TTS but couldn’t find anything cost-free and usable so I knocked this plugin up at the last minute in November.
Hopefully will spend a bit of time on it this year and sort out the admin/setup pages so folk can sign up automatically – at the moment I need to add site details etc to the DB manually. If you want to play around with it let me know and I’ll set an account up.
In terms of accessibility its producing mp3 audio, which can be linked to direct or played back inline via Flash etc which we’ve found better for our target audience.
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