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Re: Screen readers and <<, <, >, >> characters

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 10:39:28 -0400
Message-ID: <001f01c0fa5f$fa139b80$2cf60141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: "Martha Wilkes" <Martha.Wilkes@sas.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
please use functional text here.  < and > mean different things
depending on context and if I have my screen reader set to ignore < and
>, I won't even know that they are there.  > for instance is often
inserted in an email message for each quoted line of a message that is
being replied to.  Lots of us turn this off because it can become quite
annoying.  It is also present in messages that are forwarded and often,
that means that for instance if an article that is several thousand
lines is forwarded, we hear it repeated with every line so we turn it
off.  When we turn it off, it is usually done across the board.  It can
be done in several ways depending on the screen reader of choice.  One
favorite way is to tell the screen reader that whenever you see >, speak

A good rule of thumb when marking up links is to convey in text what the
link will do for many reasons.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martha Wilkes" <Martha.Wilkes@sas.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 10:09 AM
Subject: Screen readers and <<, <, >, >> characters

Apologies if this has been covered, but I couldn't find it in the

Some of our web applications use the following characters as navigation
links for large tables (or as button labels, depending on the
application). I'm sure you're all familiar with them:

"<<" means go back to the first page
"<" means go back to the previous page
">" means go to the next page
">>" means go to the last page

The screen readers we have tested with (IBM Home Page, JAWS) read these
characters as "greater than" and "less than" (as they should, since this
is what these characters really mean). Now this might not be a big deal
if vision-impaired users are already accustomed to hearing "greater
than" and knowing that it means "go to the previous page". Does anyone
know if this is the case?

We put more descriptive information in the <title> tag, but the screen
readers don't seem to read that info at all.

TIA for any insight you can provide.

martha.wilkes@sas.com | 919.531.1416
Received on Thursday, 21 June 2001 11:14:46 UTC

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