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Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL)

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) is an XML language. Although content authors can create their own XML languages for such purposes, SMIL is the recommended language for creating multimedia presentations because it includes accessibility and internationalization features. SMIL is supported by two popular user agents for multimedia, RealPlayer and QuickTime Movie Player.

The W3C ( points out that:

"Dynamic multimedia presents a number of challenges to people with disabilities and to authors of accessible content:

SMIL, considered elsewhere in the AIMS Accessibility Guidelines, provides a way of working on many of the problems of accessibility. Following is a bit of SMIL code from the W3C site at

<!-- audio -->
<p><par><switch>document with SMIL code on the other side - take care!</switch></par></p>
<par><switch><audio alt="My Favorite Movie, Spanish audio"
system-language="es"/> <audio alt="My Favorite Movie, English audio"
src="audio.rm"/> </switch> <video alt="My Favorite Movie" src="video.rm"/>
<textstream alt="Stock ticker" src="stockticker.rt"/> <switch>
<!-- captions or subtitles -->
<textstream alt="English captions for My Favorite Movie"
system-captions="on"/> <textstream alt="Spanish subtitles for My Favorite Movie"
system-language="es"/> </switch> </par> </smil>
<!--While subtitles only capture dialog in text, captions include dialog as well as text descriptions of off-screen information (e.g., sounds); authors should provide captions when possible. In the switch element, the three textstream elements are rendered in order of preference for Spanish captions, Spanish subtitles, or the default (English) captions. This design allows authors to reuse the captions as subtitles and to ensure that the textstream is not rendered twice when the player is set to support both. -->

Last updated: 8 March 2002