WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: abbreviations


From: Denis Boudreau
Date: May 28, 2010 9:33AM

Hey John,

On 2010-05-28, at 12:23 AM, John Foliot wrote:

> How/what would you propose be done instead? If we can agree that a mechanism that aids in disambiguation is a good thing - yet currently <abbr> is failing at that - is there a better way? Should user agents do more, or should we look to another mechanism instead? With on-going work within HTML5, and an accessibility Task Force at the W3C (that involves browser makers) currently very active, could a better solution be put forward? Now is the time to specifically define what we need and what we should have.
> Does anyone on this list have any ideas?

Well, I may be completely off track here but bear with me for a sec.

One option could be that when a screen reader (or any type of assistive technology for that matter) parses a page and finds either an <acronym title=""> or <abbr title=""> tag, it would store it in some kind of buffer memory (possibly flushed out one page reload or whatever, but temporarily stocked for reference if need be).

So anytime the given abbreviation or acronym is encountered in the page, even if it wasn't tagged, the tools used could refer to that buffer memory and give out the extended meaning.

If such a mechanism existed then we could give out the full detailed version on it's first occurrence (with said abbr/acronym in parenthesis, properly tagged). We wouldn't need to tag all other occurrences in the document with the appropriate HTML tag (along with descriptive @title) since any of them would refer to the one occurrence identified while parsing.

I think that with such a system, everyone would win.

Could that make sense?

Denis Boudreau