Curtin University to add accessibility software to website

Text to voice software deployment will provide an inclusive environment

Curtin University of Technology will add accessibility software to its website this month in an effort to expand access to its education courses and services.

Visually impaired users or users who require assistance with internet browsing will shortly be able to access the university website through BrowseAloud.

Developed by TextHelp, a provider of literacy software solutions, BrowseAloud is a text-to-speech program which voices text on the screen as it is highlighted.

Chief information officer of Curtin University, Peter Nikoletatos, said the website would provide an “inclusive environment” for its students, staff and visitors.

“BrowseAloud is an audio-visual reinforcement that can aid reading comprehension in those with mild visual impairments, dyslexia, learning or cognitive difficulties, and those who speak English as a second language,” he said in a statement. “We introduced BrowseAloud to help our online visitors to access information more easily and independently.”

In addition to HTML, the software also reads PDF documents, Word documents and content on the secured student web portal.

Additional features include text magnification, dictionary, translator, MP3-maker and screen masking, which can be accessed via a floating toolbar.

A spokesperson from TextHelp Systems said BrowseAloud works on a subscription-based model and is free to the end-user after a one-time download.

The University of New South Wales and the Public Health Information Development Unit at the University of Adelaide also use BrowseAloud.

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