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[Bug 15723] New: There needs to be a way to indicate what type of abbreviation is wrapped in an abbr element. The problem I am trying to solve: Proper indication to screen readers of the type of abbreviation so that the screen reader does not have to guess at what it shou

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 06:11:56 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-15723-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=15723

           Summary: There needs to be a way to indicate what type of
                    abbreviation is wrapped in an abbr element. The
                    problem I am trying to solve: Proper indication to
                    screen readers of the type of abbreviation so that the
                    screen reader does not have to guess at what it shou
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: Other
               URL: http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#top
        OS/Version: other
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P3
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: contributor@whatwg.org
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org


Specification: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html
Multipage: http://www.whatwg.org/C#top
Complete: http://www.whatwg.org/c#top

Comment:
There needs to be a way to indicate what type of abbreviation is wrapped in an
abbr element.

The problem I am trying to solve: Proper indication to screen readers of the
type of abbreviation so that the screen reader does not have to guess at what
it should do.

Initialisms should have each letter read, acronyms should have the
abbreviation read as a word, shorthand should have the contents of the title
attribute read.

Take the following example:

<abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr>

In that example, the title should only be read if the user has asked titles be
read.

<abbr title="Kentucky">KY</abbr>

In that example, a screen reader probably should replace KY with the contents
of the title regardless of whether or not the use has asked for titles to be
read. However, if that KY is in a postal address, then it probably should be
treated as an initialism and have the letters read but not the title.

What I suggest is that the <abbr /> element have an optional type attribute.

type="initialism" - Screen readers SHOULD read the contents one letter at a
time UNLESS the user has a preference to have the title read.

type="acronym" - Screen readers SHOULD read the contents as a word UNLESS the
user has a preference to have the title read.

type="title" - Screen readers SHOULD read the contents of the title attribute
if it is present

When no "type" attribute is set, the screen readers are free to use whatever
logic they want to apply but SHOULD NOT read the title attribute UNLESS the
user has a preference to have the title read. MathML would probably be a good
example there, it's an initialism mixed with a word, but the way it is spelled
with mixed case should make it easy for a screen reader to figure out.

-- Michael A. Peters <mpeters@domblogger.net> and Alice Wonder
<awonder@domblogger.net>

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Received on Thursday, 26 January 2012 08:47:04 UTC

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