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WCAG 2 draft and abbreviations


From: Peter Weil
Date: May 31, 2007 8:50AM

I know this topic has been discussed previously on this list, but I
still have some quesitons about it.

My colleagues and I are trying to come up with some best practices
for tagging and expanding abbreviations and acronyms. Most copy we
receive contains a large number of these things -- alas, we have no
control over this.

We all agree that including tags with expansions or explanations is
the best technique currently available (see exception below). But we
are still uncertain whether to tag and expand only the first
occurrence or all occurrences (leaving aside the question of how to
accomplish this efficiently). One colleague proposes tagging the
first instance after each header (h1 through h6).

To complicate matters, often the first occurrence in the copy we
receive already contains the expansion -- this satisfies one of the
'acceptable' techniques:

"provide the full form before providing the abbreviated form"

Example: "The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
(UNHCR) was established in 1950 to provide protection and assistance
to refugees."

In these cases, what should we do with additional occurrences? Tag
and expand, tag with no title attribute, or nothing?

This brings up another question: do the abbreviation and acronym tags
(aside from their semantic correctness) in and of themselves help in
any way with accessibility, or is the expansion (title attribute)
always needed to make them useful?

How are others approaching this problem?

Peter Weil, Web Developer
University Communications
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone: 608-262-6538