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Screen readers and full stops

From: <michelle.black@sickkids.ca>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 11:07:57 -0400
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <85256AA7.00531E99.00@notessmtp01.sickkids.on.ca>

Greetings, accessibility crusaders. This is my first post to the list, but I
lurk with much interest as I try to get my knowledge of Web access beyond the
basic level. Apologies in advance for asking such a basic question on the list,
but it's been driving me nuts and I'm sure someone will be able to answer it
easily.

Do most screen readers always need a full stop to know whether a sentence has
ended? Does this apply to vertical lists as well? I'm a writer who specializes
in plain language and clear design. Often we use vertical lists with bullet
points to break down longer constructions, and lately people who review my
drafts have taken issue with the fact that I always add a period after the last
bullet point.

My argument has been that, from what I understand, if the info will be posted
online a screen reader will need the period to register and thus convey that
it's the end of the sentence; if the period weren't there, the reader would just
continue reading to the next line without a pause. I have often used similar
logic in deciding to put periods in other parts of Web information where I want
a full pause after the word, where I might normally use other punctuation such
as colons or em dashes.

Was leaving the period in a vestige of older screen readers, or an older version
of HTML? Or is my assumption still accurate?

Many thanks for your help,
Michelle Black
Received on Monday, 13 August 2001 11:08:39 GMT

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