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Re: Acronyms and abbreviations


From: Ineke van der Maat
Date: Mar 28, 2002 9:32AM

Hello Jukka,

I always use the acronym and abbr tag every time I can use it. It gives also sighted users the information what the abbrevation is meaning. Mozilla underlines abbrevations and acronyms, Opera shows a tooltip clicking the mouse on it and in IE 55 only shows acronyms as tooltip.

I don't know why the difference between an acronym and an abbreviation is so difficult to understand... I saw that the W3C even does not understand it completely.. ..

Of course you have to expand NATO. Dutch television is often using the whole word, not the abbreviation.. and perhaps in more countries this is the case. I think the whole world makes more clearly what is meant.. (I don 't like abbreviations for that reason so much)

I also put changes to another language different from the main language in a title attribute ,that is showed as a tootip when you click on it with the mouse. When people don't understand what is written in a foreign language they can search in the correct dictionary and speechreaders announce also the language of the coming words...
My opinion is the more information you can give the users of your site, the better they will understand what you are talking about....

All these things I always explain in "sitepolicy"... so all the users can have benefit of it..

Ineke van der Maat

Jukka wrote:
> We should certainly give explicit expansions for abbreviations and explicit
> explanations for the origins of acronyms, if they are necessary or at least
> very useful to users.
> The title attributes are for "advisory titles" only. For hints that might or
> might not be seen or heard. Apparently, they are basically for human
> consumption. Any use by programs for purposes such as indexing or speech
> synthesis is secondary. I think we'll get into trouble if we think that any
> title attribute needs to act as specifying the way an an abbreviation is to
> be read in speech synthesis. It is quite common that a user would benefit
> from having an optional access to the expansion of an abbreviation like
> "HTML" or "IETF" - but who would like to listen to speech where each
> occurrence of such abbreviations is read as expanded?
> On the practical side, expansions for abbreviations are often useful, except
> perhaps for the most common ones. Such expansions can help e.g. elderly
> people who have learned what an abbreviation means but have problems in
> recollecting it. But explanations for acronyms are much less relevant and
> can be confusing. Do people need to know what "radar" comes from, when the
> word "radar" is used in some text? Does "NATO" need to be expanded?
> (Recently I asked my ten-year old daughter to read a text I had written, so
> that I could estimate its understandability. She asked me what "Euroopan
> unioni" ("European union" in Finnish) means - but she had no difficulty
> later in the text where I had used the abbreviation "EU". It happens that
> abbreviations are better known that the expressions they come from - not to
> mention similar phenomena with acronyms.)
> --
> Jukka Korpela
> TIEKE Tietoyhteiskunnan kehitt