When it comes to XML, there are so many uses for this W3C specification that if you are not a full-time developer, many of these uses can cause your head to spin. Most of the XML schemes have been developed as a means of making the World Wide Web more accessible but unfortunately the XML file itself has not been made readily accessible; all that has changed thanks to the VoiceXML which allows for the interactive dialogues between the computer and a human being. Basically, this specification allows for the development of applications for the reading of the XML files. This concept is the same as a voice-based browser that has been enabled to read the HTML document, it is through the VoiceXML file that these same browsers as well as many other programs are capable of reading the actual XML files.
While it is considered to be a W3C standard, the use of VoiceXML is more commonly associated with the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN. This network allows for those with vision disabilities to be able to interact with various applications. In reality, today there are a large number of commercially developed VoiceXML based applications which are used on this network and processes several million PSTN phone calls each and every single day. Some of these applications allow for the inquiries of orders, while others give one access to their email and still some allow for the ordering of prescription medications. Chances are that you have made use of VoiceXML in the past, even without being visually impaired. When you call up a major company and a computer answers on the other end asking you to press this button or that, chances are that it is running the voice synthesis thanks to the help of VoiceXML.
But of course, just as it is very useful in these telephone networks, it is also very useful in the development of websites which are more accessible to those who have vision impairments as it gives them the ability to interact with the website. Imagine if your website could attract a hundred or even a thousand more visitors a month simply by making it accessible to those who cannot see to read the screen. Just because their vision is impaired does not mean that they do not have the same common interests as yourself or your website’s visitors and since so few websites offer proper accessibility, you as a webmaster would be on the cutting edge of your niche.Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 04/03/2009