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Re: abbreviations


From: Dan Conley
Date: May 26, 2010 11:12AM

The issue as I understood it (and I admit that my accessibility training
is now a few years old, but the content of the site hasn't changed much,
so I assume/hope it's all still relevant) is that the nature of the web
allows for users to jump into a page without starting at the top, and so
it's possible they would have missed that first expansion (each article
has a table of contents with links to each h2, so if they wanted to they
could skip the introduction).

What I didn't realize then, and what my issue really is now, is that
there are some acronyms ('Portable Document Format') that actually may
be MORE confusing spelled out than in abbreviated form. Out of context I
think AIDS could go either way (we're a rehab site, so communication
aids, etc), but in an article about HIV and AIDS it seems unnecessary.
(Originally my concerns were also for users with intellectual
disabilities, but while we do provide less technical versions of complex
articles on the whole these are still aimed at rehab professionals, so...)

Thanks for everyone's responses so far. At least there isn't an
overwhelming chorus of people telling me how wrong I've been all this time.

Dan Conley
Information Specialist
Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and
Exchange (CIRRIE)
University at Buffalo, Health Sciences Library B6
Phone: (716) 829-5728

On 5/26/2010 11:48 AM, <EMAIL REMOVED> wrote:
> Presumably it should depend on the common usage of the acronym.
> Far more people are going to recognize "HIV/AIDS" than will
> recognize "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome".
> The standard practice for sighted users in formal documents would
> be to define the term in the first usage along with the acronym,
> and then use the acronym throughout. E.g.:
> "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)".
> Surely that would also be best practice for screen reader users?
> -deborah