NHS England introduces new software to improve website accessibility

Marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day, NHS England has announced the addition of new software to its website to open it up to more people.

The NHS England website now features Texthelp’s ‘Browsealoud’ – an innovative and free-to-use support tool which will read aloud and translate webpage content to users, allowing for a better and easier overall visitor experience.

As a key tool for communicating the organisation’s work and a platform hosting health policy applied across the health service in England, NHS England are keen to ensure that its website can be used by everyone.

Browsealoud reads text to web visitors, and for users whose first language isn’t English, Browsealoud allows visitors to access information in their preferred language. Web pages and PDFs can be read aloud in a choice of 40 of the most commonly spoken global languages, with text translation available in a choice of 99 languages. Web visitors can also magnify text size to suit their specific needs.

Other features of Browsealoud include screen masking and a web page simplifier, to cut out peripheral content and help readers focus on specific text. A handy text-to-MP3 generator is also available which lets visitors create an audio file of text to listen to on their smartphone, tablet or computer, wherever and whenever it suits them. All features can be customised to suit individual user needs and preferences.

Scott Durairaj, Experience of Care Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at NHS England said: “Living in an increasingly digital world, the NHS England website is often the first place people go for health information, so it is vital that it’s accessible to as many people as possible.  1 in 10 people in the UK have literacy or language challenges meaning that accessing the information on websites can be difficult. That’s why we’ve introduced Browsealoud, to ensure that as many people as possible can easily access our information and services online.”

Further information on how to better access NHS England content can be found on the Accessibility page.

Using Browsealoud

Browsealoud logoTo access Browsealoud, simply click on the orange headphone icon at the top right hand side of each page. From here, hover your cursor over the text you want read aloud and Browsealoud will read it to you. Other features such as translation, text magnifier and page simplifier can be accessed by clicking on icons within the toolbar (shown below) – if you roll your mouse over each icon a description will appear describing what the feature does.