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

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 17:09:45 -0600
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFDC47CFB0.152DDE57-ON862570F1.00789097-862570F1.007F3CE8@us.ibm.com>
Patrick wrote:
"I fear that advocating use of span to underline accesskeys is moving us 
back towards using markup for presentation."

I agree.  Again, we need a publication of best practices, which would 
include not using mark-up for accesskeys as the browsers should handle 
them.  So, lets leave accesskeys out of it for a while.

But what if the <span> is bolded or underlined or whatever for some other 
true valid presentational purpose, what should the screen reader say?  It 
would be useful for someone to research what the various screen readers do 
today with plain old rich text (not html), such as the following:
1. example of the word text with the x underlined.
2. example of the word text with the x stricken out.
3. example of the word text with the x bolded.
4. example of the word teXt with the x capitalized.
5. example of the word text with the x italicized.
6. example of the word text with the x color red.
7. example of the word text with the x in a different font.
8. example of the word text with the x embossed.
9. add your own example.

Note: some of the above examples may not transfer to your e-mail user 
agent because it is not capable or not set to handle rich text.

Many of the screen readers and talking browsers include the following:
Jaws
WindowEyes
HPR
Connect OutLoud
Hal
Outspoken
etc. see list from ATRC 
http://www.utoronto.ca/atrc/reference/tech/scread.html#products

It might also be useful to understand what you all think it should do, but 
maybe that is for the screen reader designers to compete on? 

Anyway, when the above was pasted into wordpad and read with HPR, I got 
the following results:
HPR 3.04 read:
1. example of the word text with the x underlined.
No change or pause.
2. example of the word text with the x stricken out.
No change or pause.
3. example of the word text with the x bolded.
No change or pause.
4. example of the word teXt with the x capitalized.
read as tee Xt.
5. example of the word text with the x italicized.
No change or pause.
6. example of the word text with the x color red.
No change or pause.
7. example of the word text with the x in a different font.
No change or pause.
8. example of the word text with the x embossed.
No change or pause.

Even when HPR is set to character reading mode, Alt+C, there is no change 
when reading the various x's in the text above.  When pasted into Notepad, 
the fonts and style changes were lost.
However, when searching for the string text, and it is found in a larger 
word such as texts, HPR reads it as text s, which I agree is the right 
thing to do.

Please add your own examples and specify how you think the screen reader 
should read the string of text.
9. How should LiveHelp be read? as live help, or live capital H elp, or 
live help capital H, or what?
10. Most agree that VoiceXML should be spoken as Voice X.M.L., but many 
screen readers try to pronounce XML as a word exemel, and not 3 separate 
letters x m l.
 
Some "pronunciation markup" discussion related to this topic is in the 
thread at 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2004JanMar/0029.html

Regards,
Phill Jenkins
IBM Worldwide Accessibility Center
http://www.ibm.com/able
Received on Monday, 9 January 2006 23:09:52 GMT

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