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  1. #1
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Aural Stylesheets

    I'm very interested to know if anyone is currently implementing the W3C Aural Style Sheet standards and ways that you might be using them.

    http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/aural.html

    The W3C is working on a Cascading Style Sheet standard called Aural Stylesheet. It's basically a way to code your page so that only valid content is read by screen readers instead of them reading back a bunch of code and useless information. You can use external stylesheets to define what areas are spoken too, which makes it easy to manage a large site as long as you're using CSS style rules.

    There's a cool web based tool that supports the standard and offers the ability to read pages back to the user. It's developed by the Fonix Corporation, Fonix SpeakThis...

    http://www.speakthis.com

    It's a great way to see how a page would be read back through a screen reader without having to purchase one. Plus, you can set up your site to be spoken back without a screen reader, so disabled users can access the spoken content from any machine.

  2. #2
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    Nicky

    Great minds thinking alike and all that (ahem), I was er, mulling over this whole topic just the other day.

    It seems that although the aural CSS spec is out there, there is very little evidence of it being implemented. I contacted Hakon Lie (inventor of CSS) directly as I felt that there was so little info. He responded as follows:

    T V Raman's Emacs-speak probably comes closest. He would know of other
    I dug around and found this:

    http://emacspeak.sourceforge.net/

    Not tried downloading it - looks like a less thatn easy install.

    I have not contacted Mr Raman directly yet, but will probably do so.

    Are you thinking of giving it a whirl then?
    Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way!
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  3. #3
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I will give them a go eventually,just hoping other people will make the learning process easier by making all the mistakes!

    I tried contacting TV once but I think he had just changed jobs and he never responded to my email.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict Caterwomtious's Avatar
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    I was thinking of giving them a go soon, and I've downloaded some screen reader software, assuming that its authors would have made the effort to support a standard aimed at them. I haven't installed it yet, but I'll let you know how I get on.

    The screen reader I've downloaded is Windows Eyes. The demo apparently requires a reboot every half-an-hour to continue working - a suitable deterrent for its target market but bearable for occasional testing.

    http://www.gwmicro.com/demo/
    Last edited by Caterwomtious; Apr 18, 2002 at 09:30.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict Caterwomtious's Avatar
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    A little investigation has confirmed what you were already suggesting: aural CSS is not supported by the major browsers, and statements such as:

    Opera 6 is a visual browser and does not support Aural CSS http://www.opera.com/docs/specs/
    don't make the situation sound too hopeful. Microsoft have clearly thought about the technology as they've begun to introduce support in the Windows Telephony Engine, but that's a quite different product.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...tpage_61et.asp

    I've emailed Microsoft, Netscape and Opera to ask if they've any intention of supporting the standard. If I get any replies, I'll post them.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict Caterwomtious's Avatar
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    From Microsoft...

    Hello,

    Thank you for contacting Microsoft.

    I regret that I was unable to locate any information indicating that Microsoft has announced any specific plans or timetables for implementing support for Aural Cascading Style Sheets in Internet Explorer. However, I can assure you that Microsoft believes very strongly in Internet standards and in the standards process, and that we are committed to implementing standards as appropriate and as our customers demand them.

    In the meantime, we have developed a Web Telephony Engine that supports at least several ACSS properties. You can learn more about the Web Telephony Engine at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...eref2_19gz.asp . You can also learn more about the features of the latest version of Internet Explorer for Windows at
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/.../designers.asp . Finally, I also encourage you to visit the following Web pages periodically so that you can obtain the latest information on Microsoft's efforts to develop speech technologies and other accessibility-related advances:

    http://www.microsoft.com/speech/
    http://www.microsoft.com/enable/

    I hope that you find this information helpful, and that you will continue to contact us with any comments or suggestions that you may have regarding our products.

    Thank you for your feedback,

    Jacob G.
    Microsoft Online Customer Service Representative

  7. #7
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    Wow, a response - and a thorough one at that - you are privileged!
    Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way!
    A beginners' HTML/CSS book with web standards at its heart
    The Ultimate HTML Reference
    A complete reference, in glorious hardback

  8. #8
    long gone but not forgotten AljapaCo's Avatar
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    privileged is the word, right!

    BTW. Am I alone of noticing that as soon one starts to learn something properly, some vise guy invents a new set of standards

    WeŽll just have to wait and see what this new feature will lead to!
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