audio podcast screenreader

Podcast #58: Aural Style Sheets

Dennis and Ross explain aural style sheets, a nifty part of CSS2.

Download Web Axe Episode 58 (Aural Style Sheets)

News & Announcements

What are Aural Style Sheets?

A way of controlling speech synthesis and auditory icons with CSS2, usually through a screen reader.

H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 {
voice-family: paul;
stress: 20;
richness: 90;
cue-before: url("")

Supported by: Emacspeak, Fonix SpeakThis, and the Opera Browser


  • More control over how screen readers will render your documents
  • Also beneficial for those who want your content in a mobile manor (on the road, exercising, almost podcast-esk)
  • Near future, more devices may access internet that you may want read, such as car

Example: Speak-numeral element

digits: a string of numbers is spoken as a whole number (123 = one hundred twenty-three)

continuous: numbers in a string are read successively (123 = one two three)


  • volume
  • speak
  • pause
  • cure
  • play-during
  • spacial elements (ways to have two voices appear from different areas)
  • voice character
    • speech rate
    • voice family
    • pitch
    • pitch-range
    • stress
    • richness
  • speak-punctuation
  • speak-numeral


ajax podcast screenreader

Podcast #57: AJAX and Accessibility (Part 2)

Previously, Dennis and Guest Mark McKay began the discussion on nearly taboo subject of AJAX and web accessibility in Podcast #49: AJAX and Accessibility. Now in Part 2, Dennis and Ross discuss the problems and solutions in greater detail.

Download Web Axe Episode 57 (AJAX and Accessibility, Part 2)

The Problems & Solutions

  • Notifying screen readers updated content
  • For JavaScript disabled browsers, use Hijax and progressive enhancement
  • The dreaded alternative page
  • The future?

AJAX Links




JAWS Shortcut Keys/Commands

While doing a little testing in JAWS, I quickly remembered how inexperienced I am with the program. So I went to the Help section to look up some shortcut keys. All the information is there, and there’s a lot of it, but on many different pages.

So I put what I thought were the most significant key commands on one HTML page. It can print nicely on 2 paper pages. Hopefully you will find it useful!

JAWS Shortcut Keys/Commands

screenreader testing

Screenreader Emulator Firefox Extension

So you would like to test your web site for screenreaders. It may not the final test, maybe it is. Maybe you don’t have screenreader software, or the resources to hire testers, or the time. What do you do?

Here comes the Fangs Screen Reader Emulator for Firefox 1.5 to the rescue. It’s by Peter Krantz of Standards-Schmandards. It’s yet another valuable Firefox extension for development. Fangs will open a new window with a text sampling of what a screenreader would “say”. It also has a tab for a basic headings list and a list of links. Very nifty.

[Fangs] renders a text version of a web page similar to screen reader output. Helps developers find accessibility issues fast.

Direct Download the Fangs Screen Reader Emulator


IE7 Not Fully Supported By Some Screen Readers

The Blind Access Journal blog has some information on compatibility of Internet Explorer 7 and screen reader software.