Text-to-speech: driving business success through enhanced accessibility

Written by
Kevin Alster
Published on
May 17, 2024
Table of contents

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Accessibility in digital spaces is not just corporate responsibility; it's a strategic initiative that expands market reach and engages diverse consumer segments. AI text-to-speech (TTS) technology, which converts written text into spoken words, is at the forefront of this effort, offering a gateway for businesses to serve individuals with visual impairments, reading difficulties, and the aging population.

Why text-to-speech matters

Text-to-speech technology crucially widens information access. For those with disabilities, TTS significantly improves digital content access and interaction.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment. Integrating TTS technology helps businesses reach this large market segment with accessible digital content.

Moreover, TTS extends beyond just accessibility for those with visual impairments. It also caters to the aging population, a demographic that is rapidly increasing globally. The United Nations reports that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16%), up from one in 11 in 2019 (9%).

As age progresses, even those without any prior disabilities might face challenges such as reduced vision, hearing, and cognitive abilities, making TTS an invaluable tool for maintaining their independence in accessing digital content.

Expanding market reach

The business benefits of TTS technology are substantial when considering the expansion of market reach. By making content more accessible, companies not only comply with global accessibility standards but also enhance user experience, potentially increasing their audience base. This inclusivity can lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates, as users appreciate platforms that cater to diverse needs.

Accessibility also opens up new markets. For instance, TTS is invaluable for people with dyslexia, who represent 10% of the population worldwide. By enabling these individuals to listen to content rather than struggle with text, businesses can significantly reduce barriers to entry for their services and products.

Enhancing content engagement

Incorporating TTS technology does more than just broaden accessibility—it also enhances the overall user engagement with content. Audio content allows users to consume information while multitasking, which is highly appealing in our fast-paced world. This can lead to longer engagement times as users listen to content during activities that would otherwise preclude reading, such as driving or exercising.

TTS technology's versatility boosts productivity and learning across various scenarios. For instance, professionals can listen to industry reports or updates while commuting, turning what is often 'dead time' into productive learning sessions. Similarly, students can absorb educational material through audio while engaging in routine tasks, reinforcing learning without additional time dedicated strictly to studying.

Moreover, TTS technology addresses a crucial aspect of digital content consumption—cognitive ease. Listening to content rather than reading it can reduce cognitive load, particularly for dense or complex information. This aligns with multimedia learning theories that auditory and visual channels help reduce overload and boost retention. Studies support this theory, indicating that auditory presentation can enhance comprehension and retention, especially in environments where visual resources are limited or when multitasking is necessary.

Another key benefit of TTS is improved accessibility for non-native speakers, making content more inclusive. By providing a spoken version of the text, TTS helps break down language barriers, making content more understandable and engaging for non-native speakers. This inclusivity not only expands the audience reach for content creators but also fosters a more inclusive digital environment.

Four competitive advantages of text-to-speech

Text-to-speech technology offers a strong business case by enhancing accessibility, boosting brand identity, improving customer engagement, and increasing internal productivity.

1. Enhancing accessibility and expanding market reach

TTS technology significantly enhances accessibility, making digital content available to a broader audience including those with disabilities, older adults, and non-native speakers. This wider accessibility not only complies with regulatory standards but also ethically broadens a company’s potential market. By removing barriers to content consumption, businesses can tap into these substantial and often under-served segments of the consumer market.

2. Brand differentiation and recognition

Incorporating TTS allows businesses to consistently present their brand voice across various digital platforms, enhancing brand recognition. Unique, branded TTS voices can be developed to ensure that customers instantly identify the brand through audio channels. This consistency is crucial for maintaining a solid and recognizable brand image, akin to visual branding standards.

3. Boosting internal productivity

TTS facilitates internal business processes by supporting diverse learning and working styles. It aids in corporate training and compliance by making learning materials more accessible and easier to consume, especially in bimodal formats that cater to different learning preferences​. Additionally, TTS can reduce the cognitive load on employees, allowing them to listen to content and perform other tasks simultaneously, which can lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction.

4. Economic efficiency in content production

TTS technology reduces the cost and time associated with content updates and production,  providing a scalable solution that can quickly generate voice content for various applications, from marketing materials to instructional content.

Using tools like Synthesia, businesses no longer need to rely exclusively on costly voice actors and production setups for creating voice content. For example, BSH adopted Synthesia's AI video creation tool for their global supply chain training, creating a virtual facilitator to guide learners through training sessions. This solution provided a significant cost advantage, flexibility in updating content, and ease of localizing videos for different regions. The implementation was highly successful, leading to over 30,000 views of the web-based trainings, a 30% increase in engagement, and over 70% savings in external video production costs​

What does the future hold for businesses that embrace TTS technology?

The adoption of Text-to-Speech technology offers a compelling business case through expanded market reach, enhanced user engagement, and competitive differentiation. As businesses strive to be more inclusive, TTS stands out as a key technological ally, ensuring that companies can meet the needs of today’s diverse consumer base while fostering a more accessible world.

Businesses looking to implement or enhance their TTS capabilities can look towards solutions that integrate seamlessly with their existing platforms, ensuring they can reach and engage all customers effectively. 

Why not test out Synthesia's free AI voice generator to see how it can be used for your business needs?

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