Personal tools

Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!

Self-voicing application

From ATWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

A self-voicing application is an application that provides an aural interface without requiring a separate screen reader. Self-voicing applications can be an important form of assistive technology, useful to those who have difficulty reading or seeing.

A prominent group of self-voicing applications are talking web browsers. Traditionally, talking web browsers have been specially created, as was the case with:

  • pwWebSpeak, originally developed by The Productivity Works in Princeton, New Jersey (now obsolete)
  • Simply Web (also now obsolete)
  • Home Page Reader|Home Page Reader (HPR) from IBM (discontinued)
  • Connect Outloud from Freedom Scientific
  • WebAnywhere from University of Washington (UM)
  • eGuideDog free software for the blind. Currently it supports Cantonese, Mandarin, English and German.

A more recent trend has seen the self-voicing capabilities added to mainstream web browsers with free add-ons. In 2004 Opera Software created a self-voicing and speech-recognition extension for the Windows version of their web browser[1]. And in 2005 Charles L. Chen devised Fire Vox, an extension that adds speech capabilities to the Mozilla Firefox web browser on Mac, Windows, or Linux.[2]

A second important category are broader self-voicing applications that function as what T. V. Raman calls "complete audio desktops"[3], including editing, browsing, and even gaming capabilities. These include his own Emacspeak enhancement for Emacs and Karl Dahlke's Edbrowse.


  1. Opera Sings with IBM's Speech Technology: New version of Opera Embeds ViaVoice from IBM (Opera press release, 23 March 2004). Accessed 2007-02-03.
  2. Charles L. Chen, About Fire Vox. Accessed 2007-02-03.
  3. T. V. Raman, Emacspeak - The Complete Audio Desktop. Accessed 2007-02-03.