Fort Bend County Libraries is working to improve patrons’ ability to access information from the libraries’ website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us) by installing a BrowseAloud screen-reading tool, making the website more reader-friendly to anyone with reading difficulties, dyslexia, or mild visual impairments, as well as those people whose primary language is not English.
BrowseAloud reads website content out loud, highlighting each word as it is being spoken in a high-quality, human-sounding voice. The new feature can magnify text on any of the libraries’ webpages, enabling users with visual impairments to access even the smallest of text on a webpage.
By clicking on the BrowseAloud icon on the webpage, patrons can indicate sentences that they would like to have enlarged or read to them, with a choice of reading speeds. A screen-mask feature can also block on-screen clutter so that the reader can focus on the text being read.
BrowseAloud is able to translate the libraries’ webpages into 78 different languages. The read-aloud function is available for 35 of those languages. Once the webpage has been translated into one of those languages, library patrons can have the text read to them in the language they have chosen.
There is no need to download anything to use the BrowseAloud feature on the library’s website. Simply click on the BrowseAloud headphone icon on the upper right-hand side of the library’s webpages, and a toolbar with the different options – read-aloud, translate, screen-mask, or magnify — will open. BrowseAloud functions will work on all Fort Bend County Libraries webpages, including the catalog, but please be aware that links on library webpages may lead to other websites that do not have BrowseAloud functionality.
BrowseAloud will work on PCs, Apple computers, and mobile devices, such as iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch, and Android v3. The recommended browsers include Internet Explorer 8 and greater and the latest releases of Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.
For more information, call the library system’s Public Information Office at 281-633-4734, or ask at any of the libraries in the Fort Bend County library system.