StyleSheets for speaking WWW pages:
I'd like to bring up the issue of specifying (and designing) speech-specific
stylesheets for WWW pages.
Background: Structured information can be formatted for an auditory display
just as well as it can for a visual display.
The Emacs W3 browser by William Perry (2.3.28 ) implements cascading
stylesheets as specified in css1. I have extended Emacspeak --a speech output
extension to Emacs--
to take advantage of the CSS mechanism to produce "speech fonts" when speaking
WWW pages displayed by W3. This is implemented using emacspeak's voice-lock
feature --analogous to Emacs19's font-locking.
Thus, when W3 decides to display an object using a particular font and
style, emacspeak speaks that same object in an appropriate voice.
Note that in the above implementation where the speech is generated from the
same stylesheet as the visual rendering, the two (ie visual and aural) cannot
However, in general, the aural rendering is best regarded as being orthogonal
to and independent of the visual rendering. This will enable browsers to
implement the visual or aural view, and if a browser chooses, both views.
With this in mind, I'd like to use the CSS mechanism to specify stylesheets
Next, I'd like to send out a first-cut list of parameters that such a "speech"
style sheet would allow. Thus, one would have ":voice normal" analogous to
":fon-family times" etc.
At this point, I'd first like to get the specification right --discussed on
this list, beaten on etc etc--
once we have something concrete, emacspeak will probably provide a reference
Please give me your comments/reactions to this proposal.
It's very important that we make sure that as documents on the WWW get
structurally richer, users who rely on other modes of computer output
--e.g. speech output in the case of persons with visual impairments--
are able to access the information with equal ease as those using visual
interfaces. An early specification of a speech stylesheet will allow us to
progressively evolve it along with the visual stylesheet mechanism.
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