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Improving The UX Of Names With Vocalizer.js

We have all encountered names that are difficult to pronounce. Having a challenging name myself, I get different pronunciations of my first name, Atif, all the time. In order to solve my own naming problem, I built a Javascript plugin called Vocalizer. In this article, I will introduce what Vocalizer is and a few different ways to use it.

How It Started Link

Earlier this year, I redesigned my portfolio website. During this process, I decided to add a feature that educated visitors on how to say my name. One day, I opened the “Voice Memos” app on my iPhone, tapped “Record”, and asked my wife to say my first name. Then, I embedded a small button onto the landing page after my first name. Clicking on that button would play the audio file of my name.
The audio pronunciation button that I added to my website.1
The audio pronunciation button that I added to my website (Large preview2)
After launching the website, I received a few emails and tweets calling out the audio feature. I even attended a few conferences and meetups where people pronounced my name the right way. A few people expressed interest in implementing the pronunciation feature on their own websites.

Over the next few weeks, I spent time converting my singular implementation into a reusable plugin. Before publicly releasing it, I stumbled upon a company called NameShouts, which is an audio-based pronunciation tool with a repository of over 70,000 name pronunciations. I reached out to them for access to their API, implemented it into my plugin, and open-sourced it.

How To Use Vocalizer Link

Vocalizer is a simple, lightweight JavaScript plugin that facilitates the accessibility of difficult to pronounce names. If you’re someone who is unsure of how to say a certain name, Vocalizer shows you how. Or, if you’re someone with an unfamiliar name, Vocalizer shows others how to pronounce it.
A closer view of what an implementation of Vocalizer looks like.3
A close-up view of what an implementation of Vocalizer looks like (Large preview4)
The benefit of using NameShouts’ API is that it makes the implementation as quick as possible. In its simplest usage, there are only two steps required to add it to a website.

First, you must include the Javascript library before the closing tag within the code of your website:

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