BrowseAloud Web Accessibility Tool

What is BrowseAloud?

Made by a company called TextHelp, BrowseAloud is a tool that makes websites more accessible. It does this by providing a set of speech and reading functions to help users navigate and interpret a website.

What are its features?
• Text-to-speech with choice of reading speeds and text highlighters
• On-screen text magnifier helps users with visual impairments
• MP3 generator converts text to audio files for offline listening
• Screen mask blocks on-screen clutter, letting readers focus on text being read
• Web page simplifier removes distracting content for easier reading
• Some features work on mobile versions of sites

Who does it help?

BrowseAloud supports web users who have dyslexia, ADD/ADHD and other neurodevelopmental / cognitive challenges, low English literacy, and minor sight loss. (This product is not designed for those with full or near-full sight loss.)

How do I start it? 

You will see the BrowseAloud icon in one corner of the screen on the WVML website. It’s an orange circle with a “b” in it and a pair of headphones. Click to launch BrowseAloud.

Browsealoud icon orange circle with b and headphones 


When you click on the BrowseAloud icon, the toolbar appears. Move it around the screen by clicking on the crossed-arrows icon on the right and dragging. To collapse it, click the “x” on the left.

BrowseAloud toolbar


What do the icons do?


Pointing-finger icon is Hover to Speak: starts reading the page out loud. (On by default)


Play icon is Speak Current Selection: starts reading selected text or reads from the top of the page


Page with MP3 icon is Generate MP3: converts selected text into an MP3 audio file


Eye with horizontal bars icon is Screenmask: blocks distractions on screen with a tinted mask so that reader can focus on smaller amount of text


Magnifying glass icon is Text Magnifier: enlarges text at top of screen and reads it aloud


Four bars with a downward arrow icon is Web Page Simplifier: removes clutter from the screen, displaying only the main text


Gear icon is Settings: customises options to suit individual needs or preferences (saves settings for future browser sessions)


Question-mark icon is Help: shows a simple help page that explains what the BrowseAloud toolbar does


Does it work with the Library catalogue or the BC Library2Go ebooks site?

Unfortunately, BrowseAloud currently does not work on the catalogue (Bibliocommons or Classic Catalogue) or the BC Library2Go site; it only works on other parts of our website.

Does it work on mobile devices (smartphones, iPads)?

Yes, but the toolbar is more limited on mobile websites.

Where can I learn more? Visit us at the Information Desk on the Main Floor or in the Community Computing Centre.

BrowseAloud support page

How-to Video on YouTube.