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RE: State Abbreviations in Dropdown - Permitted?


From: james.kalbach@lexisnexis.com
Date: Dec 5, 2005 3:40AM

Hi all,

Thanks for this great input. Just to clarify the situation a little more:

- The product is a limited access platform for legal research. Users must
register first to log on and it is a fee service.
- The target group is necessarily limited to the US legal market.
- Users are typically US lawyers and their assistants. Anyone using the
product outside the US must necessarily be familiar with US law. (NOTE:
legal information is riddled with abbreviations, e.g. "NY State Code.")
- Users are not entering information for an address; they are selecting
jurisdictions by which to filter a search.
- The dropdown option in question occurs after users have already selected a
jurisdiction (by state) on another page. Here, the state names are written
out in full. It's only later in the workflow that we need to represent their
multiple jurisdiction selections in a dropdown. This is typically only 2-3
selections, so the dropdown item would have something like "CT, NJ, NY"

Our legal department is of the impression that this would cause
accessibility issues. They've also lumped expansion of abbreviations into
Section 508 checkpoint (a). I'm thinking this isn't so problematic, but am

So, the real question is, would a screen reader read the above example as
"ckt, enj, nigh"? If so, would this be a problem, or would a US lawyer know
what this refers to given the context? Keep in mind they've already selected
the full state name previous and the dropdown will have an explicit label,
like "Multiple Jurisdictions: [CT, NJ, NY]"

Thanks again,