Let a computer read it to you.
A few weeks ago, I quietly added a few feature to this blog, mostly as a test. Provided by AudioFeed Creator, it automatically creates audio files from the text in my blog entries. Visitors can then subscribe to the audio content as podcasts or listen to individual entries from their Web browser or Web-enabled mobile phone.
All of this is done automatically for me, based on my full-text RSS feed. And no, there isn’t a group of people locked up in a room and forced to read all these blog entries aloud into a microphone. AudioFeed Creator uses voice synthesis. The result is actually pretty darn good.
Best of all, it’s free.
At this point, I’m considering the experiment a success. The entries are being created on a timely basis and they’re easy to listen to and understand. There’s absolutely no effort on my part. It seems like a complete no-brainer to add this feature to the site permanently.
Who might listen to it, other than people who like my words of wisdom read to them by a computer? I can see only two other groups:
- People who like to follow this blog and have more time to listen (usually while on long drives) than read.
- People with visual problems who can’t read the blog at all.
This second point makes is pretty clear that the audio feed adds accessibility to this site. While I realize that accessibility issues are important overseas, it’s something that most U.S. based blogs ignore. I’m not an accessibility expert, but I assume that making each blog post audible must increase accessibility somehow.
Anyway, I invite you to try it out for yourself. Let me know what you think by adding your comments to this post.
And if you have a blog with a full-text RSS feed, why not give AudioFeed Creator a try?
Now if only I could figure out how to change the voice to a female’s.