What is ACSS?
Part of the Cascading Style Sheet level 2 (CSS-2) specification, Aural Cascading Style Sheets (ACSS) provide control over the sound, or aural presentation of HTML elements. Just as other elements of CSS provide instructions for a web browser in visually rendering a page, ACSS elements provide instructions on how the elements of a page should sound.
Although browser support for the CSS-2 specification is improving, there are currently no browsers that support CSS-2 Aural Style Sheets elements. However, the new version of the Opera Browser will support CSS-3 aural style elements.
The Future of Aural Style Sheets
The Voice Browser working group of the W3C is collaborating with the CSS working group to develop a CSS-3 module for speech synthesis based upon Speech Synthesis Markup Language for use in rendering XML documents to speech. This is intended to replace the Aural Cascading Style Sheet properties in CSS-2.
In addition, Version 1.2 of the XHTML+Voice Profile supports the use of ACSS in applications that are built using XHTML+Voice. Read a tutorial on using ACSS and X+V styles in XHTML documents on the Opera Developer web site.
Making Web Pages Talk
Even though there are currently no browsers that support the aural components of CSS-2, it is still possible to make your web pages “talk.”
Ensuring that web content complies with published accessibility
standards will make it compatible with tools used by the visually impaired. Proper use of Cascading Style Sheets (even without ACSS elements) is an integral part of ensuring that web content can be accessed by browsers with built-in voice or other accessibility features.