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RE: <span> within a word any issue for screen readers?

From: Patrick Lauke <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 10:27:22 -0000
Message-ID: <3A1D23A330416E4FADC5B6C08CC252B9FD6DE3@misnts16.mis.salford.ac.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

>  Geoff Deering

> The way I read the specifications is that both SPAN and DIV 
> elements are 
> generic container elements that carry no structural meaning in 
> themselves, and only convey information via attributes and associated 
> styles.  I would therefore assume that if screen readers are breaking 
> words that have SPAN elements within them that they have not 
> correctly 
> implemented the guidelines.  Please correct me if I am wrong.

Don't have an authoritive answer from the spec, but purely from a
common sense point of view: if you're marking something up as being
a separate span (within a word), you're creating a structural break
between what is inside the span and what comes before/after. Regardless
of structural meaning, you have created a structural distinction.

Whether this structural distinction is "less strong" than, say, the distinction
between different block level elements, or even adjacent inline elements,
doesn't seem to be defined in the spec, from what I can see.

To take the thought off at a tangent, what should the expected behaviour of
screen readers be when faced with something like

e<a href="...">x</a>ample

(if we forget for a second that "x" is not a sensible link text...I just
can't think of a workable example right now)

Patrick H. Lauke
Web Editor / University of Salford
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Monday, 9 January 2006 10:27:39 UTC

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