I’ve been using the HearWho.com WordPress plugin to create free text-to-speech functionality on my blog. I love it! It is so easy to use, and snaps in so quickly to WordPress. I think I’ll be making a routine practice of adding a “spoken” version of all my web content. The benefit of doing this is multi-fold, and makes one’s site more useful, accessible, and dynamic.
For instance, it allows your content to be:
- easily consumed when a user is on the go or in the car. When you allow your users to click a “listen to this” button, it allows them to listen to your content in places where they normally wouldn’t be able to read it.
- it puts accessibility on the fore-front on your site, and allows users with visual impairments to listen to your content with a high quality speech reader. Most of the screen-readers I’ve seen do a poor job of converting text to speech, but HearWho does an excellent job.
- and it simply makes your site more dynamic. Sometimes you don’t want to read content, perhaps your eyes hurt today, or you forgot your reading glasses. How cool would it be if every news-article or blog you read had a good quality “spoken” version that you can easily click on.
So how do you add the plugin to your WordPress blog? Simple, visit https://HearWho.com, click on WordPress on the top navigation bar, and download the plugin zip file. Then install your plugin through your WordPress admin page. The plugin won’t work until you have an “API Key”, but you can get that freely by simply creating an account on Hear Who. The free accounts allow you to make audio files of 3,000 character’s or more (which is a lot, and most if not all my blog entries are under that). Then, every time you add a new post a new “Listen to this text” link is added to you all your new posts entries. If you want to add an audio version of older posts, just open up that post in the admin console and click “update”.