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Re: html code element and speech output

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 20:30:24 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
aloha, wendy!

as you know, i'm not quite up to snuff on the real world, but i can tell 
you that you can define any number of aural properties for CODE using the 
speaking properties defined in section 19 of the CSS2 
specification...  most germane are the speech properties 
"speak-punctuation" and "speak-numeral" which are defined in section 19.9, 
as follows:

<quote href="http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS2/aural.html#speech-props">
19.9 Speech properties: 'speak-punctuation' and 'speak-numeral'

An additional speech property, speak-header, is described in the chapter on 


Value: code | none | inherit
Initial: none
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: yes
Percentages: N/A
Media: aural

This property specifies how punctuation is spoken. Values have the 
following meanings:

Punctuation such as semicolons, braces, and so on are to be spoken literally.

Punctuation is not to be spoken, but instead rendered naturally as various 

here's an example of how one might use CSS2 to have an aural-CSS-aware 
browser indicate items marked-up using the CODE element:

@media aural {
code { voice-family: robot, male;
         speak-punctuation: code;
         speak-numeral: digits; }

note 1: i defined 2 values for voice-family (1) a specific-voice value and 
(2) a generic-voice value; - what i'd really like to do is  be able to 
define inverse relationships, so that, for example, if a user had the aural 
browser's default voice set to "female", when the UA encountered the CODE 
element, it would aurally "reverse fields" and speak the text marked up as 
CODE in a "male" voice -- obviously, this would be handy in other (mostly? 
exclusively?) binary situations, as well as an ideal way to ensure that 
changes in background and/or foreground color don't collide with client 
side settings (in other words, simply reverse the "color:" and 
"background:" values when rendering a block marked as "foo" or defined by 
the FOO element)

note 2: one could use a host of other aural properties to aurally demarcate 
CODE...a simple pitch change, for example, or a cue-before and cue-after 
event, or a change in the voice characteristics values, such as stress or 
richness...  note that what are generally classed as "synthesized voices" 
are pre-set combinations of voice characteristics - for more details on all 
this jargon, consult the URI cited above...

of course, only an aural-CSS-aware client/application would provide the 
desired aural effect (a voice change) when encountering this example 
markup, although providing the desired effect (a simple voice 
characteristic change) as the result of a DOM call is not only possible, 
but essential, in my opinion -- assistive software needs to be aware of the 
UA's generic values (defined in the base style sheet, which for most users, 
if not in most browsers, is immutable) and provide analagous values in 
whatever output modality is required...  wherever generic classes have been 
defined by the UA (such as for CODE, Q, KBD, SAMP, etc.) an AT needs to 
provide a means of identifying those classes, as well as controlling the 
means of identification -- think of it as equivalent content, for the 
default rendering of CODE as monotype IS content!

of course, there are also low-tech solutions to the problem, such as screen 
scraping, but they are not as efficient nor can they ever be as 
interoperable as an AT that is not only DOM-aware, but CSS-aware...

just my 2 cents, american, as someone who mostly uses IE6 or lynx in 
conjunction with JAWS 4.02, from which no aural indication of 
content-related elements is obtainable, gregory.

At 03:27 PM 4/16/02 -0400, you wrote:
>Could someone tell me if Jaws, Window Eyes, Home Page Reader, et al give 
>some indication when html code elements have been encountered?
>e.g. here's a code snippet
>here's some text
>here's some code
>When "here's some code" is read - does it give indication that this is
>code?  Visually, it is usually shown in a courier font (to make it look
>more machine-like i suppose).  Just wondering if there is also some audio
>Could you please include the version and platform of the product that you
>are using?
>wendy a chisholm
>world wide web consortium
>web accessibility initiative
>seattle, wa usa

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt.                 -- Bertrand Russell
            Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura:           http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
VICUG NYC:          http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html
Read 'Em & Speak:   http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/index.html
Received on Tuesday, 16 April 2002 19:21:01 UTC

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