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First Public Working Draft: Specification for Spoken Presentation in HTML

May 18th, 2021

The Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of Specification for Spoken Presentation in HTML from the Pronunciation Task Force. This document is part of W3C work on pronunciation to provide normative specifications and best practices guidance so that text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis can properly pronounce HTML content. TTS has long been used by screen readers (and other assistive technologies) for people with disabilities. It is now also widely used in popular applications such as voice assistants. Yet today there is no way for content creators to markup HTML content that will correctly and consistently present TTS generated output across all commonly used TTS engines and operating environments. This specification is intended to fill this critical gap.

This First Public Working Draft specification describes two possible technical approaches for author-controlled pronunciation of HTML content, using Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).

Either approach will satisfy our accessibility requirements. However, we seek to establish a widely applicable approach. W3C is therefore seeking more input on these approaches, particularly from content authors and implementors who would convert the authoring techniques described into the aural presentation. Please send comments by 18 June 2021.