Earlier today, I realized that I had to read a long online article before going to a lecture. This task sounded very tiring, since I had just finished a two hour exam and my eyes were already hurting from staring at a screen without a blue light filter- read more about blue light filters and reducing eye strain with technology here. Lucky for me, I was able to use the Capti Voice Narrator app to read the article, and was able to give my eyes some much-needed rest. Today, I will be sharing my Capti Voice Narrator app review, and how the Capti app helps me with schoolwork.
What is Capti Voice Narrator?
Capti Voice Narrator is an app that allows users to import documents of various file formats, eBooks, and web pages, which can then be read out loud, as well as displayed in large print text. The app is designed to be used by people with print disabilities such as low vision, blindness, and dyslexia- read more about print disabilities here. However, Capti Voice Narrator is also a great productivity tool for people who do not have disabilities. The app requires an account and can be downloaded for free, though there is also a premium plan for $18/year that allows for things such as image viewing, language translation, increased file size limits, and multiple playlists. It is available for iOS devices, in the web browser, and as a Chrome web browser extension (which can be used with Chromebooks)- download it for iOS here, open in web browser here, and in the Chrome web store here.
The app menus are in small text, so having VoiceOver screen reader or Zoom magnifier is a must for users with vision impairment. Other than that, the app is easy to navigate, and users can import content with only about four taps on the screen. Once material is being read out loud, the content text is displayed and the user can follow along with the text if needed.
Capti Voice Narrator has won many accessibility-related awards for its large amount of options for users with disabilities. Users can choose from six free voices, with the option to buy premium voices (most costing about $5). The content text can be displayed in a variety of fonts, including the popular OpenDyslexic font, and the font size can be enlarged as well. Text can be displayed on high-contrast backgrounds, and spacing between words can be increased as needed. Text is highlighted as the voice narrator reads the text, so students with visual processing issues will benefit from being able to focus on words easily, as will users with dyslexia.
Integrating with other services
Capti Voice Narrator links with several different accounts from other services. Bookshare and Project Gutenberg can be found under the “Book Libraries” menu and allow for users to read hundreds of thousands of books- read more about Bookshare here. Users can also link cloud storage tools like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud, so they can import documents of several different file types like PDF, Word, and DAISY, among others. Web articles can be added to Capti Voice Narrator from the web browser or from a copied link, though some users may choose to copy and paste text instead. There is an OCR scanner built into the app as well, though it costs money to import existing photos into the OCR scanner. Online services Pocket and Instapaper can be used too, but I have not tested these.
Integrating with assistive technology
While Capti Voice Narrator can be used on its own, I love being able to use an app with my other assistive technology. I had scanned in some text with my ScanMarker Air and copy and pasted it into the app with no issues at all- read more about my ScanMarker Air here. PDF files I had scanned using Microsoft Office Lens worked really well when imported from OneDrive, though I had mixed results when testing with whiteboard scans- read more about Microsoft Office Lens here. I also listened to files before I imported them into Notability, as well as Notability files I had created- read more about Notability here.
My preferred settings
Here are the settings I have customized for Capti Voice Narrator, which are very similar to my preferences for print materials (read more about my accommodations for print materials here). Everyone has different preferences, and luckily it is easy to adapt settings for your own personal preferences:
- Speech rate- 240 words per minute
- Voice- Karen (free)
- Text- second largest size
- Font name- Arial
- No wide text
- Light color theme
What I use it for
Here are some of the ways I use Capti Voice Narrator in the classroom:
- Listening to written lectures for English class
- Reading a book in Bookshare
- Completing online readings
- Checking documents I wrote for spelling or phrasing errors
- Hearing email attachments read out loud
How my professors have reacted
One of my professors overheard me using the app earlier today and seemed very interested in the ability to import web articles, as well as copy and paste text. They told me that this would be helpful for reading articles on the Metro (read more about accessibility features for DC Metro cars here), or checking email without having to look at the screen very much. They thought the app was awesome, and a great way to reduce screen time. Read my related post on simplifying reading with technology here.
Capti Voice Narrator is a great app that incorporates universal design, so that people of all abilities can easily use the app. Whether you have a disability like vision impairment or dyslexia, have an auditory learning style, or just want to read without looking at the screen, Capti Voice Narrator can help.