Speaking Email voice reader app - feedback please

App Developer

We have created an app for listening to email called Speaking Email. We think this would be useful for blind users.

I would be grateful for any feedback on what changes we might need to make so it works better for blind people. It is a paid app so if you would like a free copy you are welcome to email me for a promo code on feedback@speaking.email

Our link is:
www.speaking.email

The app reads out the contents of your inbox continuously (ie speaks each email in turn). You can swipe to skip or go back and double tap to archive the current email.

It is a not a replacement for an email client but rather an additional way of accessing your existing inbox in a more passive way - requiring fewer manipulations. We've designed it to be usable while driving, and we would like to see if it is useful for blind people, and what changes we might need to make to make it more accessible.

Speaking Email uses native quality text-to-speech with proprietary algorithms for detecting email signatures, disclaimers and other email-specific clutter - making for a smooth and seamless reading experience.

It is compatible with 95% of email services - works with Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, IMAP and POP. All connections are secured via SSL/TLS.

Forum: 

#1 Sounds Interesting

Hi! Your app sounds interesting. I think I will download it.

#2 my opinion of speaking email

i love the speaking email app. I use it to read my main email and love the tts:) keep up awesome work devs:) regards from a fan;)

#3 Speaking Email now accessible with VoiceOver

App Developer

I'm now pleased to announce that Speaking Email is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

This is in no small part due to the feedback from beta testers from AppleVis - thanks so much!

It's also made us realise how useful this app may be to visually impaired users. We had a lot of enthusiastic and supportive feedback that illustrates a desire for an app like this.

Stuff like this from visually impaired users really makes our day:

"I just wanted to say this app is awesome! It makes reading emails a lot easier."

"Your app is one of a handful that could assist people with visual problems and I strongly support your efforts."

"I want to thank you for this app because my 93 year old mother is almost blind from macular degeneration. She can now listen to her emails without needing someone to read them to her"

"the accessibility is awesome"

Here is the app accessibility review:
http://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/productivity/speaking-email-voice-reade...

#4 Doesn't VoiceOver work fine with the mail app?

Doesn't VoiceOver work fine with the mail app? Sell me on this one guys. So far I'm not really understanding why this is so much better.

#5 Is Speaking Email better than iOS Mail App?

App Developer

Speaking Email is not a total replacement for the mail app, rather an alternative way of consuming your email. It is designed for listening to emails more than managing and replying to mail. In the same way you might use a different email client depending on what device you are using, you can use a different email client in a different context.

The reasons I think it is nicer to use to listen to email than the mail app are:
- skipping of email clutter (disclaimers, email signatures, long URL, long numbers)
- swipe left and right to move through emails
- you can just leave it going and it automatically reads out next email, so not so much interacting required

However, you cannot dictate replies so you would need your mail app also.

This said, I am only the developer and not an actual visually impaired users, so others might have a better answer!

#6 Voice Dream Mail

It would seem that you get more out of the app Voice Dream Mail. Voice Dream Mail is also free, whereas this app is a paid app. Voice Dream Mail also allows you to reply to email.

#7 Why choose Speaking Email over Voice Dream Mail?

App Developer

Actually both Voice Dream Mail or Speaking Email have free and paid editions. The free version doesn't include "reply" functionality, that is a paid feature. But yes Voice Dream Mail does have reply by voice dictation. I didn't try it though so don't know if it works well.

Speaking Email has the advantage when it comes to detecting and skipping disclaimers and other clutter. If you are listening to continuously played emails, the legalese of corporate disclaimers are a killer.

I encourage you to try both our apps since we both have free versions.

#8 Speaking Email

I personally like having Speaking Email as an additional tool in my toolbox. I find it's nice to have the app automatically open any unread messages and having it start reading each message after it checks for new messages. I also like having the ability to skip over the information that I don't want to listen to such as the signatures. The option to automatically read the next message is a plus for me. This includes the option to skip the promotional messages. I think this app is worth it in my book.

#9 Thank you

As an advanced voiceover user in iOS, I feel very comfortable getting around efficiently and productively in the native iOS email app, so I don't see a need for me to get a secondary email program. Still, I wanted to take time to recognize and give kudos to you for actively seeking the input of blind and visually impaired users as you develop your product. I think that is fantastic, and I wish more developers would follow in your footsteps! Keep up the good work. I hope your app is a big success.