Accessible Open AI and Chat GPT


Students with some disabilities require assistive technologies to access Chat GPT and use Open AI. ASU's Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services (SAILS) office is currently investigating how they can level the playing field for these students. By incorporating assistive technologies into platforms like ChatGPT, students can have a more personalized and flexible reading experience that suits their individual needs.

Two of the assistive technologies being explored by SAILS are the Kurzweil and NaturalReader Chrome extensions. Both help students with AT needs to have an enhanced reading experience when interacting with Chat GPT. 

Kurzweil Chrome Extension

The free Kurzweil Chrome Extension helps students with learning disabilities to convert text-based content into an auditory format, making it easier for them to comprehend and engage with the information and the interface. The plugin converts HTML content, web-based PDFs and screenshots of inaccessible content into spoken words.

  • Set up is simple for students and faculty.
  • SAILS can provide training for students who use this tool by appointment and availability of the Senior Program Coordinator for Alternative Format Services. In addition, self-guided training resources are available (Note: PDF guides and tutorial videos).
  • Kurzweil has free and paid versions; however, it is free of charge to anyone with an ASUrite because ASU has a site license.

The SAILS team at ASU has a close working relationship with Kurzweil Education and often, Kurzweil Education will take improvement and development feedback directly from ASU students and staff into account. Providing detailed feedback will help make the case for improvements.

NaturalReader Chrome Extension

NaturalReader transforms content--including text, PDF files, and over 20 other formats--into audible speech. Users can conveniently listen to their documents, ebooks, and educational materials at any location and time. NaturalReader is available in multiple versions, including a mobile application, a web-based application, and the NaturalReader Chrome extension.

  • Set up is simple for students and faculty.
  • SAILS can provide training for students who use this tool, but ASU SAILS does not have any licenses for NaturalReader. All licenses Natural Reader would be private pay
  • Natural Reader has both free and paid versions that work as web apps. The paid version is $19.99 per and includes extra features such as highlighting text as it is read aloud, adjusting reading speed, and providing customizable AI voices.

A noteworthy major feature NatrualReader provides is an overlay of Open Dyslexic font for on-screen content if users need this support. This allows for on-screen reading of content.

Additional assistive technologies

SAILS is exploring the use of other AT to help students access Chat GPT and use Open AI. An evaluation of BeMyEyes, an app for phones and tablets is underway, and an exploration of JAWS is in progress.


For instructors

By following these tips, instructional designers can make their content more accessible to people with disabilities, ensuring equal access to information and a better user experience for all users.

  • Alternative Text: Provide alternative text descriptions for any non-textual elements, such as images, charts, or diagrams. This helps individuals who use screen readers to understand the visual content that cannot be conveyed through TTS. Usually it is best to keep alt text descriptions brief. If the image is complex, either place the image description below the image so the text is represented on-screen or create a long description in a plain HTML document and link to it.
  • Long Descriptions: Provide long descriptions for complex images, which contain non-textual elements on images that convey meaning. This especially applies to charts, or diagrams. This helps individuals who use screen readers to understand the visual content that cannot be conveyed through TTS.
  • Clear and Concise Language: Write concise and clear instructions or prompts that accompany the TTS feature. Avoid jargon or ambiguous language that might confuse users relying on TTS.


For developers

To create and administer a user interface (UI) that's accessible to Kurzweil and NaturalReader, developers should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Text-to-Speech (TTS) Integration: Ensure that Kurzweil and NaturalReader are integrated seamlessly into the UI so that users can easily access the TTS functionality. Provide clear instructions or prompts for users to enable or disable the TTS feature.
  • User Control: Allow users to control the TTS playback, such as adjusting the speech rate, volume, or pausing and resuming the speech. Offer keyboard shortcuts or on-screen controls for easy navigation and control over the TTS functionality.
  • Compatibility: Check the compatibility of Kurzweil and NaturalReader with various browsers and assistive technologies to ensure that the TTS feature works across different platforms and devices. Test the UI thoroughly to ensure proper functioning.
  • Text Highlighting: Implement synchronized highlighting of the text being read aloud by the TTS engine. This visual cue helps users with visual impairments to follow along with the spoken content, making it easier to comprehend.
  • Keyboard Accessibility: Ensure that all elements of the UI, including buttons, menus, and interactive components, are accessible via keyboard navigation. Users who rely on keyboard input should be able to navigate the UI easily without requiring a mouse or touch-based interaction.
  • ARIA Roles and Labels: Use Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) roles and labels to enhance the accessibility of interactive elements in the UI. This ensures that users with disabilities can easily identify and interact with different components of the interface.
  • Contrast and Color: Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and background to aid readability. Use high-contrast color schemes and avoid relying solely on color to convey important information.
  • User Testing and Feedback: Conduct usability testing with individuals with disabilities to gather feedback on the accessibility of the TTS integration. Incorporate their suggestions and make necessary improvements to enhance the user experience.


Was this helpful?



Accessibility Connections