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Re: Screen Readers and HTML comments


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Apr 19, 2005 5:22AM

On Tue, 19 Apr 2005, Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC wrote:

>> I have seen instances where (specifically JAWS)
>> has read comments and the developers specifically used that as an
>> accessibility 'feature'. I'll see if I can find the exact configuration,
>> but I believe one of the comments being read involved nested tables.

That sounds odd. By definition, a screen reader reads what is written onto
the screen, in a logical sense (of being sent to a routine for writing
onto screen). Thus, if any purported screen reader reads HTML comments,
a) it's not a screen reader (at least not in this respect) or
b) the browser misbehaves or
c) it's not really a comment.
(Comment rules in HTML are nasty, and browsers are known to get them
wrong at times. Thus, a browser might process
<!-- foo > bar -->
as if the first ">" terminated the comment and display "bar -->".
But this would be an error, not an accessibility feature.)

I wonder how rendering comments _could_ be construed as an accessibility
feature. It's simply misbehavior and confuses the user with technical data
(often nonsensical data at that) that he shouldn't see or hear.

-- Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/