Wicklow County Council deploys assistive web technology

26 Jun 2008

Wicklow County Council has added audio speech to its website by incorporating speech software from Texthelp Systems.

Antrim-based Texthelp’s Browsealoud software allows users to hear spoken content from a website. The software also highlights each word of text as it is spoken.

This functionality is designed to improve reading comprehension and assist learning abilities.

It is useful in facilitating web access for people with dyslexia, literacy difficulties, mild visual impairments and non-native English speakers.

“Wicklow County Council is committed to making its services and information accessible to people of all ages and abilities, especially through our website Wicklow.ie,” said Mary DeCourcy, webmaster, Wicklow County Council.

“We are constantly updating our website to make it more user-friendly and accessible. Recently, we became aware of the Browsealoud software. One click enables the user to download a free plug-in, thus enabling delivery of information in an audio format to a broader user base.”

Websites that have added Browsealoud can be read aloud to users after they download the application.

Irish organisations that have adopted the software include Permanent TSB, Office of the Attorney General, An Post, University of Limerick, Department of the Taoiseach, ESB, Fine Gael, Cork County Council, Donegal County Council and Tipperary Libraries.

By Niall Byrne