Accessibility is the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent people with disabilities to access and from doing what need to do online.
The Belmont Public Schools has embarked on a multi-year program to ensure its websites are accessible by those with disabilities. We will continue to develop our websites for greater accessibility.
We included enhancements of the ReadSpeaker plug-in which promotes accessibility and usability for all visitors including those who are blind or visually impaired.
ReadSpeaker webReader is a free for users of our websites assistive technology that is built into every page and allows the text content on a website to be read aloud. By speech-enabling text, you can better understand information, and listen to it anywhere and at anytime. This makes the content more accessible and the website more pleasant to visit. As a user, you don't have to download anything.
Listen to the Content
Simply click the Listen button to listen to the content of a web page:
An audio player appears (see image below) and webReader starts reading the text of the web page out loud.
In the player, you can:
- Pause/restart the reading
- Stop the reading
- Use the progress bar to listen from another place on the page
- Adjust the volume
- Click to download an mp3 file with an audio version of the web page or selected text.
- Close the player
Listen to Selected Text
You can listen to any part of a text that you would like. To have a specific text read out loud to you, first select the desired phrase or phrases. Then click the pop-up Listen button that appears next to the mouse cursor and the audio reading will begin.
Use the Features in the Toolbar
Click the expand button in the corner of the Listen button to open the toolbar. The toolbar (see image below) has many useful features which are explained below.
Floating Listen button, player, and toolbar
Put focus on drag handle: Modifier + U
When you scroll down on the page, the Listen button, player, and toolbar will float to a different position so as to remain visible. The floating Listen button or player will show a drag handle.
You can use the drag handle to drag the Listen button, player and toolbar to where it is most convenient in relation to the content shown on the page. They will move back to the default position when you scroll back up. They will always float to the position you last dragged them to.
(Note that if there are multiple players on one page, a player will only float if it is actually in playing mode)
webReader can be activated, i.e. focus can be set on the Listen button, with the access key "K". The access key "L" will set focus on the player and also start the reading. Many of the webReader tools and features also have a dedicated access key.
Access keys are activated with modifier keys, which differ depending on the browser and the operating system used (see list of modifier keys for different environments here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_key).
Inside the player and toolbar, i.e. when the user has set focus on the player, tab/shift+tab can be used to navigate and the enter key to activate a certain button or option.
When the drag handle has focus it turns orange and the Listen button, player, and toolbar can be moved around the screen using the arrow keys, or faster using the arrow keys while holding down the shift key.
- Put focus on Listen button: Modifier + K
- Put focus on player and start the reading: Modifier + L
- Open/close toolbar: Modifier + 1
The access keys for the individual features are mentioned in the respective sections below. For some features the access keys may only function if the toolbar is opened first.
Access key: Modifier + S
Click to personalize webReader according to your preferences. A pop-up screen will open where you can adjust the settings that determine how webReader displays and reads content. Read about each setting below. Your personalized settings are saved between sessions.
From the settings screen, you can change the following:
Text Highlighting On/Off
Choose to have the text highlighting feature enabled or turned off.
Choose what type of highlighting you would like. The different options are:
- Word and sentence
- Sentence only
- Word only
- No highlighting
Choose the color that will be used for highlighting words as they are read or choose to underline instead.
Choose the color that will be used for highlighting sentences as they are read or choose to underline instead.
Choose the color for the highlighted text.
Adjust the reading pace on a multi-step slider between "Slow" and "Fast".
Choose the font size for Simple View.
Choose the font used for Simple View.
Choose the combination of text color and background color used for text in Simple View.
Turn on automatic scrolling. When activated, the page will automatically scroll down to follow the highlighted text.
Restore Default Settings
Restore all settings to default.
Read on Hover Tool
Access key: Modifier + H
Click the button to activate or turn off this feature. A green dot on the button will indicate that it is activated. When activated, webReader will start reading a paragraph when the cursor points to it. This allows you to listen to a paragraph you want to read without having to select it first and click the Listen button. You simply hover over it.
Enlarge Text Tool
Access key: Modifier + E
Click the button to activate or turn off this feature. A green dot on the button will indicate that it is activated. When activated, webReader will display the sentence being read at the bottom of the page, with a larger font size and simultaneous text highlighting. You can play, pause or stop the audio and increase or decrease the size of the text.
Simple View Tool
Access key: Modifier + V
This tool allows you to open a pop-up screen with the current page in a text oriented version. You can play, pause or stop the audio and increase or decrease the size of the text. The text will be shown using the colors, font, and font size determined with the settings feature.
Page Mask Tool
Access key: Modifier + M
This tool dims the screen except for a highlighted area that follows the mouse cursor, or the finger on touch devices, to make it easier to focus on smaller portions of text at a time.
When page mask is showing, hit the space key to enter (or exit) keyboard navigation mode. A small keyboard icon will show just above the focus area when keyboard navigation mode is active. When active, arrow keys can be used to move the focus area (or shift key + arrow key for faster movement). Plus and minus keys will change the size of the focus area.
Access key: Modifier + T (requires toolbar to be open, in order to choose a translation language)
You can select a passage of text on the page and have it translated into the desired language. The translation will be shown in a pop-up screen where it can be read aloud. You can play, pause or stop the audio and increase or decrease the size of the text.
Word Lookup Tool
Access key: Modifier + W
Select a word and click the Word Lookup button to find its definition in the online dictionary.
Access key: Modifier + I
The help page gives you more information about the different tools in ReadSpeaker webReader. To learn more about ReadSpeaker, please visit www.readspeaker.com