Bret W. Lester

A Busy Week for WebOutLoud

Last week was a busy one for WebOutLoud and its accompanying browser extension with 3 separate releases gone out into the world, and one in review as I write this. I'll break down what has changed by version number.


First of all, I reverted some changes I made to the metadata (specifically keywords) in hopes of stymying the weak App Store impressions I've been seeing. It's a week later and still not much improvement.

I made some fixes to the page parser where it is less likely to mistake article headers as content. That change has been released for both the app and the Chrome/Edge extension.


I fixed an issue with Google voices where they were not reporting character usage properly, which should save me some money.

I finally updated the browser extension to properly support character limits and character boosts. This comes after I added tracking to determine if anyone is even using premium voices in the browser extension. They are. So I've made sure it is supported properly.

I noticed that character usage was not being tracked at all for Azure voices. That's fixed.


I fixed an accessibility issue in the browser extension where, if you happened to be using the keyboard to operate the extension, focus would be unwontedly stolen.

I improved the WOL in-app browser's handling of file downloads such that it will be more likely to display a PDF properly as a result of someone clicking a download link.


I made many changes and improvements to the Saved Articles feature of my app. It now handles drag and drop much better. Also, in addition to the current manual sorting (where the user can determine the order of their saved content themselves), I added the ability to sort by date and file name.


And that's pretty much the gist. I'm overall somewhat happy with how the app is doing. It seems the churn has settled down a bit, and I'm tentatively optimistic that I'll start seeing positive subscriber growth again. My biggest concern at the moment are the App Store numbers, specifically impressions and downloads. They have remained stubbornly weak as we enter back-to-school season, which is normally a busy time for the app.


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