Google Research

Text-To-Speech for individuals with vision loss- a user study.

Interspeech 2016

Abstract

Individuals with vision loss use text-to-speech (TTS) for most of their interaction with devices, and rely on the quality of syn- thetic voices to a much larger extent than any other user group. In total, 33% of local synthesis requests for Google TTS come from TalkBack, the Android screenreader, making it our top client and making the visually-impaired users the heaviest con- sumers of the technology. Despite this, very little attention has been devoted to optimizing TTS voices for this user group and the feedback on TTS voices from the blind has been tradition- ally less-favourable. We present the findings from a TTS user experience study conducted by Google with visually-impaired screen reader users. The study comprised 14 focus groups and evaluated a total of 95 candidate voices with 90 participants across 3 countries. The study uncovered the distinctitve us- age patterns of this user group, which point to different TTS requirements and voice preferences from those of sighted users.

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