How I Use It
I tried this app myself, because I was looking for a better user experience for my students. All of the features offered by this software are now built-in to Mac, however on Mac they are almost hidden. I feel this software does offer a better user experience than the built-in tools on Mac. I think my students would also find it very easy to use, and therefore I would offer it to my students. They are English language learners and I think all of them could benefit from a text-to-speech tool. This assistive technology could be used in many different settings, and so I believe it is something that should be readily available and easy to use on a computer. I believe the learning curve for using Natural Reader, especially adjusting settings like voice and speed, are much easier than on Mac. Also, the website has many tutorial videos available to help students learn.
Simply, the app reads text. It does this well, however, unfortunately Apple now has all of these features built-in including both iPhone and Mac. Even the conversion to audio files is offered built-in on Mac by converting spoken text to iTunes files. I was looking for a better user experience for my students, and I think it does offer that compared to the built-in tools on Mac. The hovering menu offers a reminder to students that they can use this assistive technology. The drag and drop usability and even the start and stop buttons all make it very intuitive and simple to use. The built-in Apple tools are not so simple to use and often require an Internet search to learn how to use and even find them. So, I would recommend this tool if your students will use it often and need something simple to use, however if you're looking for a quick one-time use, then go with the built-in tools.