Current Version: 2.0
OS: Win 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP
Release: Was shareware @ $34.95 - freeware as of 01.03.2004
"WebSpeakster v2.0" talking browser is a PC software application that was developed to help blind and vision impaired people experience the World Wide Web in a much more friendly way, as well of being very beneficial to the general user. This is the second release of this browser that includes many MAJOR improvements and additions that current users, as well as beta testers, have requested.
We are very proud, to have solicited and received the help of a very talented blind programmer by the name of Travis Roth, to not only advise on ATEC issues but to help program the additions and revisions of this version. Also, we would like to acknowledge Rick Notestine for his continued involvement of this project. It may not take a village, but it does take dedicated people that believe in the cause!
Basically, this is a web browser that "speaks", using Microsoft Active X Agent© technology, the text from web pages for the benefit of the blind or vision impaired person as well as the general user. It also is of great benefit for persons that suffer from certain learning disabilities or persons wanting to learn a second language. The browser can be operated (basic functions) completely via 6 keystrokes (mouse clicks allowed): we consider it as the most accessible web browser offered in the world, as every function is available via key strokes and activated in a friendly way. We have made a point of designing this software to be VERY simple to operate, thus giving a wider audience that can take advantage of it's use. Included, is a very complete and easy to access help system that benefits the novice user. Any additional software needed (other then what is listed under requirements) is supplied within the setup program to be installed on the system.
Includes the following features ..
- The application has the ability to be operated completely via user function keystrokes or user mouse clicks as to allow the blind or impaired vision person to execute program features easily.
- The application "talks" all functions and the help menu, so as to allow the user to rely on their hearing ability only.
- Includes an "interactive" help system to guide the user at every step. Option to toggle beginners or advance help.
- Ability to announce where the focus is (within the program) upon demand.
- All links included within the loaded web page can be accessed via a "scan method" that speaks the name of the link or in the conventional way.
- Features a "favorites" function to add favorites for future use. Takes advantage and use of the Microsoft IE bookmark system but displayed and accessed in a different manner.
- Includes a "Browser map" that the user can perform any function of the browser from this one stop via a single keystroke. Put the focus into the "browser map" via a hotkey, scan down the list of commands, using the up and down arrow keys, until you find the desired function, press the Enter key and it's done!
- Includes several advanced features such as a text enlarger, option to change font size, option to change background colors, options to set the voice speed, pitch, etc.
- Option the view the page in the normal view or text only (all graphics stripped out) for low sighted users.
- Features a very complete and tailored help feature.
- Browser can be operated by the use of only 6 hotkeys.
- The web browser will "talk" the text that is displayed on most any web site.
- New to version 2 = Option to pause the talking of the web page as well as resume speaking content where left off.
- New to version 2 = Option to skip down or up where to speak within the email message text field. This allows you to have spoken the content you prefer and skip the rest.
- New to version 2 = Offers an option to select what TTS engine to use. This feature not only allows you to simply change what TTS engine to use but what voice within that TTS engine and which language. (i.e. select a Spanish TTS engine, and the browser will read a Spanish content web page in that language with the selected voice.). Most TTS engines include at least 2 voice choices, being male and female, while some offer as many as 8.
- New to version 2 = Offers a link where you can download and install TTS engines, that once installed, the browser will automatically detect and allow you to use. Many of these TTS engines are free to download/ install; therefore, use within the browser in different languages.
- New to version 2 = Includes an independent e-Mail POP / SMTP system to receive, read, compose new, return, forward, delete from server, print e-Mail within the application. All functions, as well as help, are spoken. Supports sending and receiving unlimited amount of attachments!
- New to version 2 = Option to speak your retrieved e-Mail line by line or have the complete message spoken at once. This allows you to "skip" through the e-Mail message, by the use of the arrow keys, if elected to do so.
- New to version 2 = Option to speak your new e-Mail, speak e-Mail message text before sending, speak the keystrokes within the send mail form or toggle this option off, etc. All e-Mail functions are spoken in the same friendly way that the browser is. Not just an add-on: a powerful application in it's own right!
- New to version 2 = Includes an option to have the browser speak or not speak "Alt" tags of graphics displayed on the loaded web page. This option was included due to many web sites relying heavily on graphics to explain the content. If they were nice enough (and understand web design) to include an "alt tag", you will no longer be deprived of this content due to limited or no sight (if this option is selected).
- New to version 2 = Saves most all settings at unload. Never have to reset your chosen values at startup again!
- New to version 2 = A new color theme, that low visioned users will find more acceptable then the normal gray with black text software interface.
- New to version 2 = Option to change color theme to what you (the user) are more comfortable with. (4 different options)
- New to version 2 = Option to access 7 different pre-set "channels" (via key stroke) that navigate the browser to daily updated web pages chuck full of current news pertaining to the subject of the "channel".
- New to version 2 = No graphics that display content or links within the browser with the exception of the command buttons if you consider them to be "graphics".
- New to version 2 = Reduced the size of the Version.1 setup file (for download) by over 3Mb. making the download time more manageable.
- New to version 2 = Setup file includes, what we consider, a more realistic TTS engine / voice then Version 1. Your mileage may vary!
- New to version 2 = Completely revised the help system to be more friendly and accessible. Press the F1 function key, then the up and down arrow keys to find / hear the subject of help: the Enter key will activate the speaking of the selected help subject.
- New to version 2 = On- line support link.
- New to version 2 = Several "bugs" smashed that were embedded within Version.1
Screen shots (click to enlarge)....
Main browser window (showing web page in normal view) >>>
Notice the set pitch & speed slider controls, as well as select TTS engine, at the bottom of the screen of this screen shot. These functions are of course (as all functions within this browser) activated by click or keystroke. They allow you to customize, not only the speech output, but the TTS engine language, or voice to be used. This allows the browser to talk the web pages of over 20 different languages and 50 voices. Download and install a TTS engine on your system and Web Speakster will detect and list it automatically!
Main browser window (showing web page in text only view) >>>
By selecting the "text only" mode, this strips out all graphics allowing you to concentrate on the text of the web instead of being distracted. You have the option of changing the color of the background, color of the text, as well as the font size.
Main screen of the e-Mail window (receive) >>>
The POP3 / SMTP "talking" e-Mail system is built into the browser. It is independent of any other software; however, you will need a POP e-Mail account which is usually provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
The e-Mail "modify settings" window >>>
It allows you to configure your settings (i.e. e-Mail address, SMTP server, POP3 Mail server, & password.) that are saved until, or if you select to modify. This allows the software to "remember" your settings and inserts them into the e-Mail text fields / functions automatically.
Main screen of the "retrieved" e-Mail window >>>
Unlimited amount of attachments are supported. They are added to the bottom of the screen in the form of an icon that gives the option of opening or saving to disk.
Main screen of the "send" e-Mail window >>>
All functions and help are directed via TTS and are designed to be easily used by sight impaired persons. It features a spoken "review" of the e-Mail before sending. Unlimited support for attachments!
The zoom feature of the browser >>>
For users that have low vision, included in the browser is it's own magnifier software that will zoom content that the mouse cursor is over up to 300%.
The browser, shown in the 4 different color "themes" that are available for low or normal visioned users >>>
These high contrast color theme options give the normal or low visioned user a choice to have it shown your way. The value is saved and retrieved at startup until changed by user.
Min. system requirements...
- Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP (will not operate on workstations without full user authorization setup)
- Windows NT version will be available soon, after more testing
- Windows compatible sound card and speakers
- Microsoft Internet Explore 4.+
- All other required software components supplied within the setup (VB6 runtime files, English Text 2 Speech Engine, Microsoft Agent© core files)
Was shareware @ $34.95 - freeware as of 01.03.2004
Download it here >>> WebSpeakster_Setup.exe (5.77Mb)
You will also need this small exe file to activate the registration >>> WebSpeakster_Register.exe (24Kb)