I've seen bits and bobs about the aural stylesheets, but which browsers support it and how would it be enabled?
Well, apart from the fact that it's part of the CSS2 specification, I'm having trouble finding a browser that supports this property. From what I could find, most of the main browsers (IE, Netscape, Opera etc.) don't support it (see here and here), but there may be some Alternative Browsers that do.
It might be the case that you need a screen reader to be able to use aural style sheets, but from what I could see not all screen readers have this capability.
Perhaps someone here has had some experience with this?
I hope this was of some use!
Likewise, I'm having trouble finding much support for aural style sheets, too. However, I did come across an interesting service that claims to be able to render your site as an MP3 (and which supports aural stylesheets)...
More web stagnation...
It's a shame - it seems that ever since the bubble burst a couple of years ago development has slowed to a snails pace. If it's of no use to corporates it just isn't been developed.
This http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Info/People/raman/emacspeak/emacspeak.html looks quite interesting from the point of view of support aural CSS, getting active development and a free download. Shame it looks such a dog to set up.
I think I'll leave the use of this until the technology matures some.
wow...that's awesome that you can make a stylesheet that dictates how the computer READS the website. WOWWWWW! *enthralled*
Yep. Definitely a great move in the area of accessibility. Just a shame it's not being supported yet.
I would not worry in the least about aural stylesheets. Why not? Because I have no idea what a blind person would prefer to hear. Why do we even use visual styles? Because we think we know what the user would like to see. Or... We desire to apply a brand to our site to make it unique. Would you want to make a brand out of how your site sounds? Sure! I'd love to! I would hire voice actors and they would speak the text exactly how I wanted. It's just too bad that aural browsers use computerized voices. Under the current specification there is no good way to brand your site with aural styles.
I see aural stylesheets as a user-option. Just like how many modern browsers have a "User Mode" where the user can specify their own stylesheet, I expect aural browsers to have the same feature. Where users create a stylesheet (or simply set program options) to make headings sound one way, paragraphs to sound another, and links sound a third way, etc.
The only of uses (that I see) of aural styles for the author is to apply phrasing to text. But you should use phrase elements instead. The phrase elements are: EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, SAMP, KBD, VAR, CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM. Anywhere the author uses emphasis (without using the <em> tag or <strong> tag) he should put the appropriate aural style (raised pitch or volume) in the stylesheet with the visual style (bold or italic). But this is automatic with use of the <em> or <strong> tags. They will be spoken appropriately in an aural browser based on user preference with no styling on the author's part.
Other than that, unless it's for marketing purposes (and I hate marketing), there is no reason to make your page sound a certain way in an aural browser. Let the user decide.
Though I suppose if you were marking up a conversation where you visually use different colors or fonts to indicate the speaker you could use aural styles to indicate a change in speaker.
Can you guys see other practical uses for aural styles? Maybe I'm just short sighted