21 March 2007

CSUN 2007/CLiCk, Speak

FoxyVoice fans, lament no more...

FoxyVoice was the brilliant Firefox extension that made text-to-speech simply instantaneous for everyone, including young and LD kids. You just highlighted text, clicked on a smiley face in the lower right corner of the screen, and whatever you had highlighted was read to you.

But, alas, no one updated FoxyVoice post Firefox 1.0.7, so you could keep an old browser (if still a great one), or update to Firefox 2.x and depend the vastly more sophisticated, but vastly more complicated to use, FireVox.

"You bitched about this last year," Charles L. Chen of CLC and Mozilla told me, "well, here's your solution." He slapped a CD into my hand and pulled up a website on his computer. There, in the upper left corner, were three strange little icons - one white, one green, one red. Put the cursor into any word, sentence, or paragraph, and click. If you click the white icon it will read that word (or a section you have highlighted), perfect for any student who needs a single word sounded out for themselves. Click the green icon and the page will be read from the paragraph you have clicked into. It reads and scrolls the page. Click red (of course) to stop.

Simplicity has returned, and it is called CLiCk, Speak and you can install it right now - and grab the "directions" too.

Let me quote a very recent review from Accessify: "Unlike Fire Vox which is designed for visually impaired users, CLiCk, Speak is designed for sighted users who want text-to-speech functionality. It doesn’t identify elements or announce events - two features that are very important for visually impaired users but very annoying for sighted users.
"If you’re a sighted user who wants to have web pages read to you because you have cognitive issues (for example, dyslexia), because you have literacy issues (like me - I can understand spoken Mandarin Chinese just fine, but reading is difficult for me), because you want to reduce eyestrain and listen to a web page being read, etc., then you are likely to prefer CLiCk, Speak over Fire Vox."

- Ira Socol, from not so sunny Los Angeles

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