E-mail List Archives

Re: Quick tip

for

From: Paul Bohman
Date: Mar 14, 2000 9:41AM


Just as a follow-up about acronyms and abbreviations, I should mention that
there are actual HTML tags that specify whether an item is an abbreviation
or an acronym. Internet Explorer will expand the acronym with a visuial
pop-up "tool tip". Unfortunately, this is the only browser at this point
that seems to recognize the tag. As far as screen readers go, neither I.B.M.
Home Page Reader nor JAWS seemed to recognize the tag. We will probably have
to wait for future releases of those products for that particular tag to be
recognized.
I haven't yet found a browser that supports the abbreviation tag.
Personally, I think it is most beneficial to the reader to have the acronym
or abbreviation explained within the text itself, rather than in a tag, even
after the tags are fully supported.
I have an additional comment going back to my original suggestion to use
periods between acronyms that aren't phonetically pronounced. I.B.M Home
Page Reader reads these a little better than JAWS. Instead of prounouncing
the "dot" between each letter, it just reads the acronym in the same way
that a sighted person would. I should also point out that fewer people
actually use I.B.M. Home Page Reader.
For those who are interested, here is a snip of sample code for acronyms:
<acronym title="United States of America">U.S.A.</acronym>
And here is a snip of sample code for an abbreviation:
<abbr title="International">Int'l</abbr>
You can read more about these tags at these Web addresses (thanks to Daren
for looking these up):
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wai-gl-techniques-19980918#text
http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/text.html#edef-ABBR
Paul Bohman
Web Accessibility in Mind (Web-AIM)
www.webaim.org

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Bohman < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
To: < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2000 6:13 PM
Subject: Quick tip

Here is a quick tip dealing with abbreviations and acronyms:
Some screen readers will attempt to read acronyms. This is alright as long
as the acronym is pronounced phonetically. The listener may have trouble,
however, if the acronym is not meant to be pronounced the way that it is
spelled. In these cases it may be a good idea to put periods between each of
the letters in the acronym. The abbreviation for Utah State University, for
example, is U.S.U., but without the periods between the letters (USU), some
screen readers will pronounce it as "oosoo". This can be confusing. Not all
screen readers handle the periods exactly as you might like them to, but
they try. For example, the screen reader called JAWS (version 3.5) says
"you, dot, ess, dot, you, period", which isn't exactly what I would like,
but it's at least close.
Just remember to mentally pronounce abbreviations and acronyms to yourself
as you type them into your web pages and put periods between the letters if
necessary.
Paul Bohman
Web Accessibility in Mind (Web-AIM)
www.webaim.org