If you’ve been on the internet anytime in the last 6 months, then you’ve maybe heard of an app called Speechify. It’s a new, trendy, TTS app (text to speech) that has everyone from students to working professionals raving about the wonders of having your tedious readings read to you.
This was enticing to me. I’m a pretty busy guy. I play college basketball, work part-time, and try to keep a solid GPA. I’m not exactly what you would call a ‘slow reader’. Still, that doesn’t mean I like to read. I come back pretty tired after practice and I usually just find myself thinking: “Do I actually have to complete all these readings?”
Founded by Forbes 30 under 30, Cliff Weitzman, Speechify started after years of coping with dyslexia coupled with frustrating experiences of trying out un-inspiring TTS apps.
“It started after I pulled my fourth all-nighter,” Weitzman told us. “I was pretty fed up of how hard it was to manage my dyslexia alongside all the coursework. I wasn’t satisfied with the expensive options on the market, so I drafted up the first “Speechify” concept!”
So — could a Brown student coping with dyslexia and a love of audiobooks really design a software that could help rid the world of painful readings? Over this past week, I used Speechify to find out if this really is the solution for me.
Here’s how it went …
My Seven day Free Trial Begins!
Everyone loves a free trial. And what’s even more loveable is, Speechify won’t charge you after the free trial expires without your permission. Whether that be a password, a fingerprint, or facial recognition — I’ve got to admit, not trying to be scammed out of my money, feels good.
The free version of the app gives me full access to the mobile app. Which, is pretty useful for obvious reasons, but Speechify Pro lets me transform PDFs into audiobooks and send them to my iPhone. So, I can listen to them pretty much anywhere.
You can create entire libraries and collections for your favorite articles, unread emails, and pending coursework to be read to you any time of the day.
For a college student, this feature is extremely useful.
There are three ways you can use Speechify.
I’m personally pretty excited about the PDF to iPhone feature since I get so many readings assigned via PDF and can just directly send them to my phone to be listened to while I heat up some dinner after a long day of work.
As I opened the downloaded the Ios feature, I could tell that Speechify had done a great job of developing a pleasant on-boarding experience. They gave me a quiz to see what my main intention of using the app and walked me through the entire process step by step.
Oh, and not to mention the first thing speechify read out loud to me was a Wikipedia article on giraffes… I liked it.
Figuring out the app
Like most people, I don’t read directions. I skimmed the instructional emails and was good to go. They walk you through it pretty well, so it’s easy to figure out.
Time to fire it up and give Speechify a go
The first thing I use Speechify for is a reading assigned by my Politics Professor about late capitalism in the mid-twentieth century. Kind of a snooze.
I typically skip over words when I’m finishing up last minute readings (and sometimes I do it even when I’m not last minute reading). And with larger, longer readings, I skip entire paragraphs in hopes to save a few minutes and pray I’ve gotten the“gist” of the material.
Speechify doesn’t make this silly mistake. It makes sure I’m taking in everything the text has to offer. I can just toggle the speed to 5x the speed to get the reading done a little faster than usual and digest all the information without skipping over anything.
As I was listening, I realized I’ve never really understood how fascinating the topic my teacher assigned was. It’s always just been a mundane chore… but, the text was actually pretty interesting…and having it read aloud by Speechify helped me realize that.
I know people say we should read thirty minutes a day. But that can feel like forever. Speechify encourages their users to read more often, by giving them the option to listen to their extraneous texts whilst on the go. As you can imagine, it was a fun surprise.
Speechify is giving listening to a new name…
To be honest, the primary reasons I’m skeptical of most text-to-speech apps because:
- The voices sound too unnatural
- They’re too hard to figure out
- You can’t get the voice to match your desired speed
Fortunately, Speechify solves these pain points. The app has a variety of natural voices to chose from, a range of speeds for you to listen, and a user experience to die for.
But what was the most noticeable difference between Speechify and other TTS apps I’ve used? Speechify made getting work done a whole lot more interesting.
One week was all that was required to make a solid judgment on Speechify.
Here are the 4 things I love most about Speechify:
1. Design & Functionality — For the first time in my life, I can call a text-to-speech app “attractive” The design uses effective minimalism to heighten user experience. More important than its design, is its functionality. Speechify works. I can literally use it anywhere. I have it effectively read to me, and enjoy how it looks while doing it.
2. Versatility — There are no limits to when and where you can use this thing. You can switch from Ipad to a computer, to phone in seconds. Speechifying everything from emails to books to articles.
3. Hours Saved — There’s something about creating products that can save you hours of time. It’s as if they make me want to use them more. This was the case the Speechify. It helped me save time, and made me feel more productive. What more could I want?
4. Less is more — A username and a password and you’re good to go. The app was stupidly simple to figure out.
Overall, Speechify kills it — they make it easy to maintain good reading habits by providing me with all that I need, and none of what I don’t. The cost/benefit ratio of their pro version is off the charts, and a subscription plan means I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on audiobooks for assigned readings.
Most importantly, Speechify has made reading an enjoyable process again.
For a more detailed and up to date, tutorial of Speechify features see our blog post: The Definitive Guide to Reading Faster With Text to Speech in 2018