Synthetic Audio is Now Available for 70,000+ HackerNoon Stories

22 Apr 2024

Today, HackerNoon Synthetic Audio is available for nearly every story submitted to the website, allowing readers to instead become listeners.

What is HackerNoon Synthetic Audio?

Since late 2021, HackerNoon has been working to add audio versions of each article published on our platform. To reduce audio generation time, we built a tool to auto-generate synthetic audio as soon as articles are published. This tool is powered by AI, allowing transcripts of an article to be processed almost instantaneously.

Readers can choose from four different voices to listen to; currently, every article is presented by english-speaking synthetic voices. It’s also possible to change the speed of each audio track, allowing users to choose their own pace.\

This Synthetic Audio was developed by Marcos Fabian, a developer at HackerNoon. He developed the audio to allow active listeners a chance at enjoying articles at the same pace as active readers. It’s thanks to his efforts that Synthetic Audio is now available for so many stories on HackerNoon!

The Benefits of Adding an Audio Player to Your Articles

Accessibility for the Visually Impaired

As one might expect, having audio for every HackerNoon article allows more readers to choose their method of viewing articles. Those that are visually impaired will now be able to enjoy all the content HackerNoon offers. People who are on-the-go don’t have to stop in place just to read about their favorite tech; synthetic audio is about providing readers their own choice in how they enjoy HackerNoon’s articles.

More Statistics for Writers

This new feature is also beneficial for writers. HackerNoon tracks statistics based on how long each article is read. Since reading relies heavily on focus, it’s possible that longer articles may simply be too much for some viewers. Synthetic Audio changes this, as listeners can choose to put their full focus on the article or simply leave it on while they focus on other tasks at hand. In turn, this will increase writers’ stats higher than ever, leading to greater motivation to continue writing high-quality content.

Improving SEO and UX

While the audio players themselves don’t automatically improve SEO for your website, when they are used it’ll keep users on your article longer, improving the overall time on site.

At HackerNoon, we’re all about giving our readers and writers more options with the creation and consumption of their content. Writers will also have access to download the audio files of their stories to repurpose as they wish.

How to Use HackerNoon Synthetic Audio

Synthetic Audio is automatically applied when a writer submits their article. There are no extra steps they need to take to turn it on. However, the audio relies on an article’s text to provide listeners accurate accounts of what’s on their screen. Any mistakes in spelling or grammar will be much more noticeable. It should go without saying that writers should already be working to avoid these mistakes, but this is even more important to keep in mind with so many potential listeners out there.

When viewing articles, viewers can simply hit the play button underneath the article’s featured image. After a short line from the sponsor, the article will be read from start to finish. No further input is required unless the listener wishes to pause or skip to different sections. The pause button will be accessible through the navigation bar while scrolling through articles, allowing readers to follow along with the audio. Drop-down menus above the audio bar will also let listeners change the audio’s speed or voice. Speed can be changed at will, but changing the voice will reset the audio back to its starting point.

It should also be noted that articles with audio support will have a pair of headphones next to the time it was posted. Not every article will have this icon, but one can expect every article on the front page to boast this feature. Viewers interested in a new article can keep an eye out for these to make sure they have the option to listen to their favorite topic!

The Future of Synthetic Audio

HackerNoon will continue to develop and improve this feature as more articles are published. Work will be done to ensure older articles can benefit from Synthetic Audio as well, and further accessibility options shall be considered. Plenty of writers could use more chances to share their love for the world of technology. Through the use of AI-enhanced audio, HackerNoon seeks to let them share that love with anyone, be they avid readers or enthusiastic listeners.