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Re: Punctuation in lists

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen <lras@loc.gov>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 13:29:06 -0400
Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.20000418132906.00835610@RS8.LOC.GOV>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 09:00 AM 4/18/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Dear Group,
>
>I have been in the habit of ending list items with punctuation.  I do this
>because my earlier experience with screen readers was that they did not
>pause at all at the end of each list item.  I have gotten some grief for
>this since the practice is, at best, questionable from a grammatical point
>of view.  Is this practice still necessary?  Is it advisable?  HTML 3.2 had
>DIR and MENU but these have been deprecated.  Is there any appropriate mark
>up to differentiate a list where each bulleted item is one or two words each
>versus a list where each item may be one or two sentences, or even multiple
>paragraphs?  Do any screen readers treat any of the unordered list types
>differently?

I would advise making the list grammatical and doing proper markup.  As you
probably know, Lynx puts various punctuations for bullets in front of list
items in an unordered list.  The user will only hear them if these
punctuation marks are turned on as they read the page on their favorite
screen reader.  In many bulleted lists, since IE puts the Windows-CP1252
character #149 in front of bulleted items, Window-Eyes will say "bullet" if
"enhanced" punctuation is set to "describe".  If a person wants to grok the
items in a list, they may need to stop the automatic reading for a moment
and scan through the list line by line.  In my opinion, this does not place
an undue burden on the reader.
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress    (202) 707-0535  <lras@loc.gov>
<http://www.loc.gov/nls/>
HOME:  <lras@sprynet.com>   <http://lras.home.sprynet.com
Received on Tuesday, 18 April 2000 13:28:56 GMT

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