Personal tools

ReachDeck Toolbar

Use the ReachDeck Toolbar to read web pages aloud.

Browsealoud icon and toolbar

APS is pleased to announce that ReachDeck Tool that is added to our District and school websites, helps to make our content more accessible with reading and translation support.

All ReachDeck features are at no additional cost to you and can be accessed from an easy-to-use, floating toolbar — allowing you to drag and drop it anywhere on the screen.

Watch ReachDeck in Action

Video Transcript

The toolbar: When you launch Browsealoud, the toolbar will appear. It’s a floating toolbar, which means that you can move it anywhere on your screen, or hide it from view by clicking on the close button. There are several icons on the toolbar, each representing one of Browsealoud’s features. Each of these buttons perform a different function - you can hear text read aloud using these buttons, translate it, convert it to MP3 and add a screen mask. You can magnify the text, simplify web pages, and set your own personalized settings.

Text to Speech Browsealoud reads text on a webpage out loud. There are two options: Hover to Speak and Speak the Current Selection. Hover to Speak is turned on by default when the toolbar is launched. To start speech: Simply hold your mouse pointer over the text - or click the text if you are using a mobile or tablet device. To stop speech, click on the stop button. To hear specific text read aloud: untick the hover to speak button, select the text you wish to hear and click the play button. Again to stop speech click on the stop button. You will notice, the text is highlighted in a contrasting color as it’s read aloud. This helps to easily identify what is being read and also acts as a visual reinforcement, to improve word recognition and comprehension.

Translation Browsealoud translates web pages into a variety of languages and speaks the translated text where there is a matching voice available. To use the translation feature simply click on this button. A submenu appears, which presents the full list of languages that Browsealoud can translate. Make your language selection and see how quickly it translates the full web page. By hovering or clicking the text - you can hear it read aloud in a high quality, natural sounding native voice.

MP3 Generation: Browsealoud converts any text that you select from a web page into an audio file that you can then listen to at a later date at home, or on the move. Select the text that you wish to convert then click the MP3 maker button on the toolbar. You’ll be prompted to give your audio file a name - when you’re done, click generate to create your MP3. Now, you can transfer your file to an MP3 player, smartphone or computer and listen to it when it suits.

Screen Mask: This feature allows you to apply a color filter to your screen. By clicking on the screen mask button on the toolbar, a semi-opaque mask extends across the screen, leaving a letterbox reading window clear. This window follows the movement of your mouse pointer - or finger on a mobile or tablet device - helping you to focus on the section of the webpage that you’re most interested in and to ignore any unnecessary clutter. To remove the mask, click on the Screen Mask button on the toolbar. As an alternative to the letterbox reading window, you can go to settings and select a ruler screen mask. The choice is yours.

Text Magnification: With Browsealoud you have the option to magnify the text as it’s being read aloud. Click on the Text Magnification button on the toolbar and hover over or click on your chosen text - you will see the larger text is displayed at the top of the screen. You can personalize the font, size, and color to suit your needs in settings. To turn off this feature, simply click on the Text Magnification button again.

Simplify Reading: The text on a website has become a little easier with our simplifier tool. This feature removes the clutter and distractions, such as pictures and adverts, allowing you to focus on the text you want to read. Click on the simplify button on the toolbar and see the distractions disappear from the screen. You can change the text size, change the background color, summarise the content, print it and read it aloud. To return to the original web page click close.

Settings: In the settings menu you can personalize the features to suit your own specific needs. You can choose your preferred highlight colors for text to speech and text magnification here. You can choose to have the text magnifier on by default - so, every time you use Browsealoud, the text magnifier will be switched on. Here, you can select the size of the magnified text. Hover to speak is on by default so to switch it off click no here. You can choose how quickly or slowly the text is read to you. To have the simplify feature on every time you use Browsealoud - click yes here. To identify links on a webpage, you can switch it on here. You can even customize the identification of links by adding your preferred word here.

As you can see, the default word is simply ‘link,’ but I’m going to change it to ‘hyperlink.’ Here, you can choose to activate Browsealoud each time you open a PDF by selecting yes. Once you’ve made all your selections, click save. Help If you are unsure about what each feature offers, click on the help button. A drop-down menu will appear that gives you a short description on each feature. To hear the text read aloud, click on the text to speech icon on the toolbar.

Who ReachDeck Helps

ReachDeck helps people who may find it difficult to read text online, those who may have literacy problems or those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. It is also a helpful tool for those for whom English is a second language.

How ReachDeck Works

ReachDeck offers a host of reading and translation support, helping you to access and understand our website better.

  1. Text-to-Speech: Reads web content aloud when text is clicked on or highlighted.
  2. Translation: Translates web content into multiple languages.
  3. Text Magnification: Enlarges text and reads it out loud.
  4. MP3 Generation: Converts selected text into an MP3 audio file.
  5. Screen Mask: Blocks distractions on screen with a tinted mask.
  6. Web Page Simplifier: Removes clutter from the screen, displaying only the main text.
  7. Settings: Customize options to suit individual needs or preferences.