Just recently I have started to add a recording of yours truely reading aloud my blog posts. I wanted to do this for a couple of key reasons. Firstly for people who are vision impaired and find it difficult to read. Secondly for the lazy or time poor who would prefer to have a blog post they might be vaguely interested in read to them.
I don’t know anybody who is vision impaired but my attention has been drawn to this section of society thanks to the great work that Olympus have done with their digital voice recorders. For quite some time Olympus have been making tactile buttons on what are generally very small devices with very small display screens. More recent innovation has also been the voice guidance feature which allows the digital voice recorder to speak aloud functions and confirming settings as the menus are traversed, an essential feature for people with reading difficulties. The Olympus DM-5 digital voice recorder in particular has been specifically designed for vision impaired users with a larger than normal screen, voice guidance, DAISY consortium book support and the ability to read back text files.
On the flip side, I do know plenty of time poor people, i’m one of them. I spend alot of time flicking through blog posts sucking up information but quite often I just end up skimming the post. This is where I thought the recording of the blog read aloud might be a good idea, should you be interested in anything I write and you are time poor well now you can just sit back and listen.
I did spend a while looking for a good streaming audio solution. Initially I recorded .mp3 files, stored them on my webserver and used a WordPress plugin to stream the audio. This worked well reading my blog on a desktop or laptop but not so well reading my posts on an iPad or iPhone. The streaming mp3 plugins I used were flash dependant. Then I across SoundCloud, at first I thought it was a service mainly for musicians but quickly found they made allowances for digital voice also. The audio is stored with SoundCloud rather than my own server, bonus and audio can be quickly recorded via the iPhone/iPad app, Mac app or using one of my many digital voice recorders. But the thing I loved the most was the HTML5 widget than can be created and embedded into posts which plays nicely with the iPad/iPhone when viewing my blog on a mobile device.
There is also a SoundCloud WordPress plugin. Once your audio has been uploaded to SoundCloud the widget can be copied as a link or using the supplied SoundCloud short code.
Seems only fitting that a blog dedicated to digital voice actually has some digital voice in its blog posts don’t you think?
What do you think of my recorded blog posts? Are they of use? Should I hire a professional voice over artist or should I give up the idea?