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RE: Screen readers and full stops

From: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 16:23:25 +0100
Message-ID: <D1EFBFDCD178C24DA607A306D6E3A711042831@uranus>
To: <michelle.black@sickkids.ca>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Michelle,
Firstly, I am sure that everyone will join me in saying that no question
is too stupid - we all have to start somewhere. Now, to your question...

It is my experience that a screenreader will require a full stop in
order for the user to know that a sentence has ended, otherwise it just
keeps on reading. I have also found that this is true for vertical
lists, although other punctuation - such as comma, semi-colon and colon
- will cause the reader to pause slightly. If you are writing for clear
and concise purposes, then a full stop will help people distinguish
where they are and also aid you in keeping sentences clear and simple.

Forgive me if someone else out there knows different, but when taken in
the context of the rest of your message, I feel that this would be the
correct answer. Anyone else?

Kind regards to all

Sime

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of michelle.black@sickkids.ca
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 16:08
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Screen readers and full stops



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 11:24:04 GMT

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