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RE: alt text & punctuation - best practice?

From: <Ianl@dyslexic.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 02:09:38 +0100
Message-ID: <6EAA2EBD3DDF4E4F95649DEA2B10D2422F6335@dyslexic.com>
To: <joeclark@joeclark.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> > Our web house style has been to punctuate headings for some 8 years
> > so. Has screen reader design moved on enough that we can now stop?
> How about stopping because it was always incorrect?

Says who? Which conservative, overprescriptive, paper based style guide
that predates electronic text and screen readers?

> > I don't accept that punctuated headings are "incorrect" any more
> > punctuated bullets are.
> Different cases. Wait till you find out what you can do with end
> punctuation on the *last* item in a list.

What's different? Punctuating bullets was largely wrong in my style
guide 20 years ago, too. And what's the point about the *last* item?

> > It is a matter of habit and house style.
> It's a matter of wrong habits and incorrect house style.
> > A universal colon looks (to me at least, who is used to it) just as
> > normal in a heading as an exclamation mark or query.
> Nope. Among many other reasons, colons are not end punctuation.

Precisely. And headings are beginnings, not ends. That's why a colon is
appropriate on a heading. More so, in my opinion, than a full stop. But
I wouldn't be as dogmatic as you.

> Sadly, on this topic, you are completely mistaken. And in any event,
> user-agent flaws are not Web authors' responsibility.

I'm really surprised at the conservatism and hostility that our policy
seems to have aroused. We are always looking to improve and we will
certainly change our policy and our recommendation:
	When I am convinced that nearly as many screen reader users find
it a nuisance as find it a benefit;
	When most screen readers deal intelligibly with headings;
	(A start would be for the UAAG to specify behaviour for UAs to
deal with headings};
	When Audio CSS is widely supported (We'd use that instead).

Meanwhile, given a choice between the convenience of screen reader users
and the aesthetic sensitivities of those who think that Gutenberg
represents the last word in usability and style, I know which side I'm

I personally think that right justified text is aesthetically more
pleasing than ragged right. (Gutenberg did too, probably). And WordStar
made it really easy. But I stopped doing it when I realised that it was
less legible.

Maybe it's time for some of us to lose our hang-ups about punctuated
headings, as well?

Ian Litterick
Accessibility? Think about your dyslexic readers too:

> --
>     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
>     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
>     Expect criticism if you top-post


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Received on Tuesday, 22 June 2004 21:10:00 UTC

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