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Thread: RE: when acronyms mean nothing

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From: Jukka Korpela
Date: Fri, Jun 28 2002 12:49AM
Subject: RE: when acronyms mean nothing
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Timothy J. Luoma:

> So how does one mark up an acronym that doesn't have any meaning?

There is quite some confusion around the <acronym> and <abbr> elements,
caused by different interpretations of the word "acronym" (and the word
"abbreviation"). According to several dictionaries, an acronym is a
pronounceable word that has originally been formed from initials of words,
such as "radar". But according to another interpretation, any initialism is
an acronym.

Besides, what should a user agent do with the information in the title
attribute? There are some indications of an opinion that it should be read,
i.e. the abbreviation "spelled out", in speech synthesis. I don't think that
would be useful, so I don't take the risk. If I want to have my abbrev
spelled out, I spell it out. I don't want a user agent expand my abbrevs
just because I've indicated them as abbrevs in my markup.

I don't think we can do much this confusion as authors. My opinion is based
on the fact that any support to <acronym> or <abbr> is primitive at best and
any future processing might be based on some currently unpredictable
interpretation of the semantics. Thus, when in doubt, I use neither. This
means in practice that I mostly use just <abbr> occasionally, when it would
do no serious harm to spell it out, e.g. when I use an abbreviation just
once in a document, expecting it to be known to readers but expecting them
to understand the expanded form too.

The expression you take as an example is something that originated as an
abbreviation but has lost the connection, becoming just a word-like
expression. It's not really an abbreviation any more. If it were a
pronounceable word, it would be an acronym, but markup for acronyms is
relatively pointless, accessibility-wise and otherwise too. It does not help
much to known what "radar" comes from; and if it's relevant to say that,
then let's say that in prose, not in markup.

--
Jukka Korpela, senior adviser
TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre
http://www.tieke.fi
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399


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From: Ed Lucas
Date: Fri, Jun 28 2002 4:06AM
Subject: Wikis and Accessibility
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Is there a Wiki, or something like it, for the Accessibility Community?

FYI: A Wiki is a writable web site, where the users have control over
adding and deleting the content and pages - it is something like a
graffitti wall or a forum without any threading e.g.
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki
http://allmyfaqs.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?HomePage

I ask because;
I'm a web developer with a long standing interest (but not
expertise) in usability and accessibility, but no established links to
the community, basically just an outsider who would like to be 'doing
the right thing'. I don't think I'm alone in this ;)
I think a Wiki could be a good way of sharing and discussing a lot
of the nitty-gritty - the real world application of the standards - that
sort of thing.

I appreciate that there may be a number of Wiki features that are not
conducive to Accessible Browsing, the simplistic text editing for one.
However, just the feedback on this alone would be useful to the general
wiki community.

So, to cut a potential ramble short;
Is there already one, and I Googled past it without noticing?
Is there any interest from this community in having one?
I would be willing to run one as a pilot scheme if there is
sufficient interest. (The only problem is that my current hosting setup
probably lacks CPU power to host it if it grows - it might then need
moving or upgrading)

Thanks for your time, best wishes,
Ed Lucas



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From: Holly Marie
Date: Fri, Jun 28 2002 7:44AM
Subject: Re: when acronyms mean nothing
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I use Acronyms, and though I have heard that once is enough per page...
a problem exists if you have inside reference links or anchors that
redirect a user or the user skips over introductory content are where
acronym descriptions are first made, on into another area of the page
where the acronyms are not described. I guess this might be a personal
decision about what to do, but I also think about when or where it fails
and how to try and avoid those situations.

What may be better is simply providing the expanded text meaning in
parenthetical display following the Acronym?


Acronym Support across browsers:
IE5.5, Opera5.01, Opera6.01 - hovering acronyms, pops a title box with
the description
Mozz 1.0 - Acronym has a lighter dashed gray underline, hovering the
acronym produces the text description box
NN6.2 has an arrow and question mark on hover, dashed lighter gray
underline, and pops the desciption box on hover.
NN4 does not seem to have user visual support for acronym, no box on
hover.
Lynx does not seem to support acronym.

And then one wonders how readers or devices support the acronym tag?

< acronym > and < abbr >
and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
Acronym may be more widely supported so many may use it for both.

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#text-abbr
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text.html#edef-ABBR

holly



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From: Tom Gilder
Date: Fri, Jun 28 2002 12:14PM
Subject: Re: Wikis and Accessibility
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On Friday, June 28, 2002, 12:01:01 PM, you wrote:
> Is there a Wiki, or something like it, for the Accessibility Community?

Instead of setting a brand new one up, how about using
<http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?Accessibility>;? :)

--
Tom Gilder
http://tom.me.uk/


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From: Ed Lucas
Date: Mon, Jul 01 2002 4:07AM
Subject: Re: Wikis and Accessibility
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>
>
>Instead of setting a brand new one up, how about using
><http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?Accessibility>;? :)
>
>
Doh!

Thanks Tom - In my defence, I plead 'Friday' ;)

Regards,
Ed Lucas



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