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RE: WCAG and Diacritical Markings

From: Carney, Amy L (EED) <amy.carney@alaska.gov>
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2016 23:00:33 +0000
To: Ryan McCalla <rmccalla@hawaii.edu>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <17DBE4E3420AC747AC431B62EE1C800C01150A204C@SOAJNUEXMB3.soa.alaska.gov>
Hello, Ryan,

Have you inserted an ISO language code around the word(s) that are Hawaiian? (e.g. <p lang=”haw”>)

Also, it may help using escape character in place of each diacritical marking. So, “Hawai&rsquo;i” rather than “Hawai’i“.

I’m still new to web development, and other should correct me if I’m wrong. But these are HTML techniques I have recently learned about to aid in making websites more accessible.

Amy Carney
Publications Specialist
Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums

From: Ryan McCalla [mailto:rmccalla@hawaii.edu]
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2016 2:22 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: WCAG and Diacritical Markings


Sorry if you’re seeing this message twice. Not sure if my first message was sent.

My name is Ryan and I am the Accessibility Specialist for the IT department at the University of Hawaiʻi. We are in a unique situation and I'm hoping someone on this list can give us a little guidance.

All of our current sites and pages use correct Hawaiian spelling of words and names with their correct diacritical markings. However, JAWS and NVDA do not handle these special markings well. JAWS is the worst and sometimes reads "Hawaiʻi" as "Hawai?i". The issue is that we want to be WCAG compliant, but at the same time we want to recognize the Hawaiian language and culture with the correct spelling and correct diacritical marks for Hawaiian words and names. If we use diacritical marks, screen readers do not handle/read them properly. If we don't use the proper spelling, we run the risk of upsetting the native culture.

Is there anything that we can do to ensure that Hawaiian words/names get spoken correctly by screen readers? Does accessibility trump culture and language? If we continue to use diacritical markings (and assuming we have no other issues), would we still meet WCAG compliance, even though screen readers stumble through the page?

More info on Hawaiian Diacritics at http://www.hawaii.edu/site/info/diacritics.php.


Ryan McCalla
ITS Staff
University of Hawaiʻi
Received on Thursday, 11 August 2016 23:01:08 UTC

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