Almost all the information out there is written. And after a threshold of reading when we can’t consume any more information, we stop learning. Or perhaps we are physically occupied with an activity — like at times of exercise, commute, a jog, etc., our minds can still learn. At times like these, there is just no way to learn by reading.
Learn by listening
Fundamentally, listening to information allows you to learn efficiently and faster, as opposed to reading that requires your complete attention and focus. And, with almost every piece of information out there in the written form and requiring us to read it, we lose out on several learning opportunities when reading is not possible.
Text to Speech for learning
Text to speech (TTS) technology has been around for more than 3 decades but only the recent advances in Machine learning have made it possible for the technology to sound natural and human-like — making it a viable solution for converting written content to audio on-demand.
Of course, TTS has it’s quirks and cons. For example, sometimes the sound is monotonous, incorrect/weird pronunciations for some abbreviations and names, etc. and above all, the voice still sounds robotic when compared to that of a human. But these quirks are insignificant compared to the possibilities it provides in learning.
When your only goal is to learn and all you care about is knowing and grasping information, then at times when reading is not an option, this app gives you an opportunity to learn by listening.
How to Use the app
Step 1: Download the app from our website here — https://play.ht/mobile/
Once you download the app, you will have an empty playlist. You need to then import articles to your playlist to be able to listen to them.
Step 2: Import articles to your playlist.
Here are 1 min videos that show you how to import articles in the app to listen.
Listening on iPhone
Listening on Android
Step 3: Listen :)
Tap on the ‘Convert and Make Available Offline’ option on any article from your playlist to download the audio file on your phone so you can listen to it offline anytime.
Pro tip: Do this when connected to Wifi so you don’t finish up your 3G/4G data.
Change speed to listen faster/slower
Match your learning pace by adjusting the listening speed as shown below:
Change listening speed
Don’t wait for article to convert
If you are converting a lengthy article it might take a while. You don’t have to wait though, the app will notify you once the article is converted and ready for listening.
Notification showing that article is ready for listening.
Give us feedback
If you encounter a bug, glitch, have a feature suggestion or feedback on how the app can be improved, please let us know. Here’s how you can get in touch with us from within the app.
What’s next for the app?
While we work on improving the app based on your feedback, we have the following features lined up:
- Adding the ability to listen to your books and documents (PDF, EPUB, TXT, …etc)
- Connect with Pocket and Instapaper accounts and import your articles for listening
- We’ll add more voices and give you control on selecting different voices for different articles
An important note for Publishers, Bloggers, Readers & Hacker Noon writers
If you are interested in making your articles accessible to your audience then check out our Audio Player that you can embed in your articles so readers have the option of listening as well — https://play.ht/app-landing/
Listen to Any Articles, News, Notes or Text Online :-) was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.