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I am Marcy Sutton. Ask me anything.

Senior front-end engineer & accessibility advocate at DequeSystems. axeCore team member, eggheadio contributor. Dirtbag bike racer, music junkie, dog lover.

Ask Marcy Sutton about:

  • Web Accessibility
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • General Front-end Development
  • Petting dogs 🐶
  • Bike Racing 🚴
  • Life Pro Tips 🙆
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48 discussions

What are your thoughts on CSS3 speech spec? Do you think browsers should take a step to implement it soon?

The CSS Speech Module sounds like such a fantastic idea, I really wish it had gained traction–but it hasn't. Here's some language I found from the W3C about the status:

Speech contains properties to specify how a document is rendered by a speech synthesizer: volume, voice, speed, pitch, cues, pauses, etc. There was already an ACSS (Aural CSS) module in CSS2, but it was never correctly implemented and it was not compatible with the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), W3C's language for controlling speech synthesizers. The ACSS module of CSS2 has therefore been split in two parts: speech (for actual speech, compatible with SSML) and audio (for sound effects on other devices). The speech properties in level 3 will be similar to those in level 2, but have different values. (The old properties can still be used with the deprecated 'aural' media type, but the new ones should be used inside the new 'speech' medium, as well as in style sheets for 'all' media.)

I don't think there has been enough implementer interest and public outcry to help these gain traction. A lot more attention seems to be paid these days to the Web Speech APIs. This goes to show that if something is specified, we have to tell browser vendors that we WANT and NEED those features, so they prioritize them. Otherwise they might not ever get adopted.

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What are your favorite resources on web accessibility? Can you point me to some?

I put a link together for this very question:

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What are your thoughts about Atomic CSS ( and other similar frameworks that uses single purpose styling units applied via classes?

Have you ever used them in production or recommended it to your clients?

I haven't used Atomic CSS personally, so I can't comment on that. But–I can say that pattern libraries present a wonderful opportunity to integrate accessibility early on. By making sure each pattern has accessibility built-in to it, you can prevent every developer implementing it from having to figure out those basic requirements later on. The same goes for all CSS- and JS-driven UI frameworks. By tackling accessibility as part of the library, every development consumer and end-user can reap the benefits.

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What are some of the sites that you love that meet the modern accessibility standards?

Great question! There are some really good examples these days–I catalog them on my blog, Accessibility Wins:

It's a bit unfortunate that it took a legal guideline to get there (the Air Carrier Access Act update), but US airlines are doing a better job with accessibility these days. Alaska Airlines is a great example:

Simply Accessible's website is a fantastic example of accessible RWD:

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What's your favorite time of the day to be outside on a hike?

Definitely in the afternoon! Trails are quite popular where I live in Washington State, so trailhead parking lots are often full early in the day. Depending on the time of year, I will wait until later for people to clear out and I can park right in front. Plus, the trail magic that happens at golden hour and late in the afternoon is one of my favorite things in the entire world.

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