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RE: (lists and) Screen Readers

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 12:29:56 -0500
Message-Id: <200102191721.MAA1115334@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Jon Hanna" <jon@spinsol.com>, "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 04:11 PM 2001-02-19 +0000, Jon Hanna wrote:
>* is a good choice in that it is used often by the default rendering,
>and a bad choice in that * already has many meanings (footnote,
>multiplication, date of birth) and using it for another meaning is
>probably a bad idea.
>All this only goes so far unfortunately, as nothing could be found
>which worked well with screen-readers.

An asterisk '*' works well with screen readers because it turns on and off
a command that screen reader users already understand how to apply.  The
overloading of * and all forms of punctuation is endemic in natural language. 
Removing some of that ambiguity may be be a laudable goal, but it is not
of an accessibility requirement to rule out this usage.

It not fair to claim "there are no solutions" when you have ejected solutions
from the feasible set on inconclusive evidence.

The device that I think nobody has mentioned on this thread is trailing
punctuation on the list items.  Just use comma, semicolon and full stop as if
you were reading the list out loud.  If you are assuming that you have CSS
available, you can make this optional, conditional on the media asserted.
induces the change in the speech which is the most natural inflection to
what is going on.  Len reminded us of this device a little while back.  May
have been on the GL list.  Bullets don't exist in oral style.  Pauses do.


Received on Monday, 19 February 2001 12:14:18 UTC

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