ROKTalk to be given to 5,000 schools across the UK Free of Charge
Leading text-to-speech service for websites to be given free of charge to 5,000 schools across the country in a £600,000 website accessibility and usability initiative.
London 13th May 2010: ROKTalk, the text-to-speech service for websites designed to ‘make websites talk’ through converting written text on websites into real-time, real voice, audible speech, has today announced it is to gift the service to up to 5,000 primary and secondary schools across the UK this year through it’s not-for-profit organization, The ROK Foundation.
There are approximately 30,000 primary, secondary, special needs and independent schools in the UK. Under the terms of the plan, the first 5,000 schools to apply for the free service before 31st July will have it installed and operational on their websites in time for the next school year in September.
Schools may apply for the free ROKTalk service to be added to their websites by completing the online application form at www.roktalk.com
Website accessibility is an increasingly important obligation with legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act paving the way for the Equality Act, set to be ratified into law in the UK later this year, obliging website owners ‘to ensure that it is not unreasonably difficult’ for disabled people to use their websites.
Approximately 10 million people, or 15% of the population, in the UK suffer from some form of disability which presents them with a challenge, to a greater or lesser extent, to internet access, resulting in a barrier to the socioeconomic benefits of being web-enabled. These disabilities include dyslexia and cognitive and learning difficulties through to visual impairments, including blindness.
“Many people would assume the internet to be out of reach of the disabled,” said Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman and CEO of ROK. “In fact, with the aid of assistive technologies, the world wide web has given many disabled people greater autonomy than ever before, providing the websites they visit are as fully accessible as technology allows.”
ROKTalk has been specifically developed to take website accessibility and usability to the next level through providing website owners with usability functions to include cap-height adjustment and color-contrast changers, in addition to text-to-speech, as well as and enabling website visitors to download text as audible MP3 files.
“The enormous development in website accessibility and usability that ROKTalk delivers is obvious, particularly for those with a learning disability such as dyslexia and those who are visually impaired, but so is the fact that most schools are hard-pressed financially with little or no budget to license new technologies,” said Kendrick. “This is why we have taken the decision to give ROKTalk free of charge to as many schools across the country as we can.”
ROKTalk is usually priced at between £120 and £2,500 per year depending on the nature of the customer (whether they be commercial, governmental or charitable), the services they license and the number of visitors to their websites.
“We will aim to offset our costs from providing ROKTalk free of charge to these schools through the placement of relevant and appropriate sponsorship within the service and we will also offer ROKTalk to those schools who miss the free of charge 5,000 cut at a heavily discounted rate, to include our text-to-speech language translation service, in due course.”
The full ROKTalk service, currently being licensed to website owners worldwide, includes a multi-language text-to-speech translation service.