Most web pages contain assorted kinds of markup (i.e., HTML tags). This is used to make the document structure more apparent, add semantic distinctions to certain parts of the text, etc. Unfortunately, most assistive technology (e.g., braille displays, screen reading software) discards this markup before rendering the page.


Markdown is a popular markup language for text documents. It uses assorted characters to indicate font usage (e.g., *emboldened*, _italicized_, `monospace`). It also has syntax to distinguish code blocks, section headings, etc. In short, a Markdown document can capture most of the markup found in typical web pages and ebooks.

Let's assume that a browser extension could (optionally) translate the incoming page's HTML tags into Markdown notation. Using screen reading software and/or braille displays, a user could then have access to this semantically-useful metadata.

Getting There

Dom Christie has already written to-markdown, a set of JavaScript code that translates HTML into Markdown. Most web browsers have the capability to add extensions, plugins, etc. Since these are commonly used to modify the page contents, writing one that incorporates to-markdown should be relatively simple.

To be continued...

Breakout Pages

This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r68 - 23 Feb 2016, RichMorin
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