Improving website accessibility

IOM3
,
3 Apr 2009
Richard Cooper (IOM3), Raj Kher (Browsealoud)

On 12 March website managers from member organisations of the Science Council and Engineering Council (UK) (ECUK) visited the IOM3 London headquarters to hear about Browsealoud, the screenreading software recently acquired for the Institute’s website.

Raj Kher from Browsealoud explained how easily the software can be customised by the user to read aloud online content in different voice styles and at varying speeds.

The screen-reader is a popular free tool already used by many other sites, such as the BBC and government departments, to make web pages more accessible to non-native English speakers or those with a sight impairment. Once the software has been downloaded, it can be saved on to a USB stick for use on any computer, and will also work on any other website that is Browsealoud enabled.

Raj demonstrated how the software can create an audio file from selected text on the IOM3 website so that users can listen to it offline using an MP3 player.

Michele Gaudelli from VerseOne Technologies presented on the importance of web accessibility and provided useful tips for making a website easier for disabled users to access.

Both companies are offering their software and services to members of the Science Council and ECUK at a reduced rate following the Institute’s adoption of Browsealoud earlier this year.

For further information, contact the IOM3 web content manager Richard Cooper on richard.cooper@iom3.org, or visit www.iom3.org/accessibility#browsealoud