Re: Deprecate <acronym>

I've been catching up on things since I joined late, but I have found this
thread to be interesting.


I have a few suggestions.


First, deprecate simply means it's not preferred but allowed.  If we're
going to clean house make a _final_ decision.  Do not deprecate things.  If
we don't want it used, remove it.  This should hold true for any other tag,
attribute, or element.


Second, acronym is my preferred tag, but since we're not at a voting point
that's of only use.  However, why I use it may be of more important use.
Because screen readers do not truly provide top accessibility _unless_ we
configure it to do so, <abbr> in most cases are understood by the listener.
Acronym, on-the-other-hand, leads to much more ambiguity.  Take for example,
SEC.  If we were listening to information on the Securities and Exchange
Commission Web site, we can safely assume that SEC represents Securities and
Exchange Commission.  However, if we were reading a report in a Web site
from South Carolina, SEC could represent Southeastern Conference or South
Carolina State Employment Commission.  <abbr> would not work in either of
the two cases without semantic references available.


Third, as decent a job the screen readers do, the fact that they must
continue to develop their pronunciation dictionaries is burdensome for them.
A possible better situation is to require a <link> to a pronunciation
dictionary for the Web site.  Screen readers can more easily be programmed
to reference this text file and use it to ensure proper pronunciation of any
included acronyms or abbreviations.  


This would require additional work on the part of the content providers.

However, if they exclude the file the accessibility would be under the same
peril it already is ... either people make their Web sites accessible or
they don't.


Fourth, screen readers should for reading the titles of acronyms and
abbreviations by default.  Those that want to remove it could still have the
choice.  It's better to do more for the client than to make them configure
more to get the full appreciation of anything.  Consider how many people use
Windows in the default mode compared to those that don't.



Lee Roberts




Lee Roberts


Received on Sunday, 25 March 2007 13:33:53 UTC