Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Style Sheets Include Speech

The World Wide Web Consortium has been working on ways to add speech elements to the creation of web pages. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) version 2.1 has already started providing properties to enable this. Version 3, which is currently in draft form, strengthens these properties. Although most browsers have not yet included this functionality, soon we should be able to write web documents that provide properties such as:
  • volume
  • balance (between channels or speakers)
  • pauses
  • sounds that provide cues before and/or after specific elements
  • voice characteristics (e.g., type of voice, rate of speech, pitch, emphasis, time taken to speak text)
  • phonetic pronunciation

Right now, alternative browsers use the elements within the HTML/XHTML/XML documents themselves to provide indications of how to speak the text. With these CSS properties, your ability as a web author will be enhanced by providing not only the words, but also control over how they are spoken.

Keep tuned . . .

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