Bracebridge town hall is becoming more accessible with the introduction of a new reading tool on its website.
Called BrowseAloud, the tool works by reading texts in an audible, natural-sounding voice. The function is designed to help those with mild visual impairment, dyslexia and others facing literacy challenges get a better understanding of what is going on at town hall.
“The Town of Bracebridge is committed to making our programs, services and facilities accessible to all residents,” said Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith. “Given that more residents and visitors expect to access information and services online, I am pleased that we are embracing technology that will support persons who may experience difficulty reading text on a computer screen.”
The program can be downloaded for free at browsealoud.com, and can also help visitors who call English or French their second language. Outside of Bracebridge, the Township of Muskoka Lakes has had BrowseAloud on its website since 2011.
“The implementation of BrowseAloud on the town’s website is another step towards the town meeting the needs of its residents and acknowledges the wide array of barriers experienced by visitors to the website,” said Bob Jones, chair of the town’s accessibility advisory committee. “BrowseAloud is an excellent accessibility tool available to everyone that is free of charge and easy to use.”
The introduction of BrowseAloud comes one month after the town heard from an accessibility consultant who recommended a long list of structural upgrades at town hall to make it more accessible. They included suggestions to rebuild the wheelchair ramp at the front of the building to offer wheelchair users a gentler incline, the installation of more automatic door openers, the construction of at least one wheelchair-accessible customer service counter and the introduction of a fully-accessible washroom.