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The punctuation and typographic symbols that screen readers don't read


From: Paul Bohman
Date: Jan 21, 2014 1:11PM

Screen readers can do a lot better job at reading punctuation and
typographic symbols. I decided to document what screen readers do and don't
read. The results are not very encouraging.

Here is the blog entry:

There is only a short list of punctuation marks and typographic symbols
that are read reliably across the brands of screen readers, making it
really hard for web developers to trust screen readers to convey the
intended meaning.

For example, if you write 1+1=2 (one plus one equals two), NVDA says only
"one one two" at its default verbosity setting. And if you write 1-1=0 (one
minus one equals zero), screen readers will say dash instead of zero, even
if you use the HTML entity for the minus symbol: −

And JAWS will read several characters incorrectly, saying "equals" where it
should say "less than or equal to" and "tilde" where it should say "almost
equal to" and others. These are bugs that need to be fixed.

The results are not limited to just math symbols. There are in fact very
few HTML entities and typographic symbols that all screen readers read

More details in the blog post.

Paul Bohman, PhD
Director of Training
Deque Systems, Inc
703-225-0380, ext.121