Screen readers and numbers (was RE: Number, Date, Time, Quantity)

Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> further it could be read as "one thousand two hundred ..." by a
>> screen reader
> That's good point. Speech-based user agents have difficulties with
> digit 
> strings. They typically have settings for reading them as numbers or
> by 
> digits, but this is not optimal since this should depend on the
> context 
> and meaning of the digit sequence.

>From a draft of one of the "modules" for the upcoming CSS3 specification:

The "speak" value can specify whether text will be rendered aurally and if
so, in what manner. The possible values are:

	none: Suppresses aural rendering so that the element requires no
time to render. Note, however, that descendants may override this value and
will be spoken. (To be sure to suppress rendering of an element and its
descendants, use the 'display' property).

	normal: Uses language-dependent pronunciation rules for rendering an
element and its children. Punctuation is not to be spoken, but instead
rendered naturally as various pauses.

	spell-out: Spells the text one letter at a time (useful for acronyms
and abbreviations). In languages where accented characters are rare, it is
permitted to drop accents in favor of alternative unaccented spellings. As
an example, in English, the word "rôle" can also be written as "role". A
conforming implementation would thus be able to spell-out "rôle" as "R O L

	digits: Speak numbers one digit at a time, for instance, "twelve"
would be spoken as "one two", and "31" as "three one".

	literal-punctuation: Similar to 'normal' value, but punctuation such
as semicolons, braces, and so on are to be spoken literally.

	no-punctuation: Similar to 'normal' value but punctuation is not to
be spoken nor rendered as various pauses. 


Perhaps more work is required for the numeric rendering/speaking, perhaps
"whole-number" (where 1,012 would be expressed as "one thousand twelve") and
"date" (where 2006-08-30 could be expressed in natural language [?] if ISO
date standard was used... [this would be very slick!])

Since CSS 3 is still very much in draft, why not? 

John Foliot 
Academic Technology Specialist - Online Accessibility
Stanford University
560 Escondido Mall 
Meyer Library 181 
Stanford, CA 94305-3093 

Received on Wednesday, 30 August 2006 17:39:14 UTC