Free Talking Firefox Extension for People with Cognitive Disabilities

CLiCk, Speak, created by Charles L. Chen, is an open-source, free extension for Firefox that reads Web pages out loud in a voice.  It is designed for sighted users with cognitive disabilities.

Interface

The image below shows CLiCk, Speak’s interface.  It is a toolbar with three, simple buttons for “Speak Selection”, “Auto Reading” and “Stop Speaking”.  Each has an accompanying image that can be enlarged and uses contextually-relevant colors.

Firefox toolbar of 3 buttons, each with a text label and image

CLiCk, Speak is mouse-driven. Web page text can be selected by clicking and dragging, then read out loud via a click to the “Speak Selection” button.  The “Auto Reading” button starts narration from the top of the page.  Each sentence is highlighted as it is read.

It does not identify elements or announce events, which Mr. Chen says is “… very annoying to sighted users,” but which would be important for people with visual disabilities.  This means fewer distractions from the primary, textual content.

Compatibility

CLiCk, Speak is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux; and has multilingual support.  Design information and source code are available for developers.

At the time of this writing, CliCk, Speak was last updated June 18, 2008.  It is compatible with Firefox 3.x.

Note: No endorsement of CliCk, Speak is intended or implied.

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