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Accessibility Guide for Digital Content

Creating accessible content is not just for students with disabilities but benefits all learners. Learn how to design course content or documents to be accessible.

About Audio Tools

People who are blind or visually impaired use screen readers to have digital text read aloud to them. A variety of text-to-speech tools can also be convenient for sighted individuals to avoid eyestrain or to listen when reading is not feasible.

Student who is blind working with a laptop

Access Matters by Victor Komarovsky licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Screen Readers

Screen readers are software programs that allow people who are blind or visually impaired to hear the text on a computer screen. A screen reader looks at the coding behind the scenes while it reads the text -- and also reads popup boxes, buttons, etc. As assistive technologies advance, more screen readers become available. Here are a few to explore:

NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) - Designed by a blind individual; free but available for Windows only

Apple VoiceOver - A platform built-in to iOS products

JAWS (Job Access With Speech) - Popular, available for a fee, and for Windows only

Visit the American Foundation for the Blind website for a list of additional platforms.

Text-to-Speech Tools

Text-to-speech tools tend to be less robust than screen readers. Many web-based platforms and apps are available, often at no charge. Here is a sampling of tools to explore:

Natural Reader - Software available on the web or as a Chrome extension

Read Aloud - A text-to-speech extension for Chrome

SpeakIt - A tool available on Windows (using SAPI 5), macOS, and Chrome OS

ttsMP3 - A tool that both reads text aloud and provides the opportunity to download the converted text to .MP3