We’re testing audio on Medium

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What if you could enjoy the great writing on Medium while taking a walk, running errands, or doing dishes? This question has driven us to start testing a new audio feature on the Medium website called text-to-speech.

The text-to-speech experiment is currently only available to a portion of Medium website readers, but our plan is to collect feedback and consider making it available to all readers in the future.

We hope this feature will be the start of many more compelling audio initiatives on Medium.

How it works

At the top of the story page you’ll see a play button. When you press this button, the story text is read to you by a computer-generated voice.

If you don’t like the default voice you can choose from seven other options. Thankfully, the computer-generated voices don’t have feelings and won’t be offended if you prefer one over the other. As far as we know! We may add more voice options in the future.

You’ll also have the option to adjust the playback speed from 0.5x to 4.5x.

We’re experimenting with this because we want all the great writing on Medium to be available to you even when you’re not able to look at a screen. We’re also trying to make Medium more accessible to those who prefer listening over reading.

As a parent of three kids under five, I often find myself short on reading time, and am excited about listening to Medium stories on the go.

What do you think? Hate it? Love it? Please let us know in the responses below.

Reader FAQ

Why am I not seeing the player?

If you’re not seeing the play button at the top of stories, you’re not alone. This feature is currently only available to a small, randomly selected group of readers on the Medium website. We hope to make the feature available to all readers soon based on early feedback and additional improvements.

Can I change the narrator’s voice?

Yes. After pressing play, you can choose from eight different options via the player that appears in the lower right corner of the story page.

Is this a permanent feature?

We don’t yet know. We’re gathering data and feedback over the next week or so to see how readers and writers respond. If you’d like this to be a permanent feature, please let us know in the responses below.

I thought Medium is only for text. Why add audio?

“There are times for all of us when our eyes are busy but our minds are open,” and we hope that having the ability to listen on Medium will help more people enjoy great writing during such times. Audio also increases accessibility for those who prefer listening over reading.

Does Medium offer audio options that aren’t related to text-to-speech?

Medium recently acquired Knowable, an audio-first learning app. Knowable features lessons from hundreds of field-leading experts on subjects ranging from professional development to personal well-being. Featured contributors include NBA All-Star Chris Paul, record-holding astronaut Scott Kelly, and top TED speaker Celeste Headlee, as well as notable organizations such as MIT and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. You can check out Knowable here.