WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Alt text (was VIKI - text transcodeing)


From: Léonie Watson
Date: Jan 23, 2007 2:30AM

Alastair Campbell wrote:

"I believe (and Léonie will elbow me if I'm wrong) that square brackets aren't read by Jaws on default settings..."

For Jaws at least, the default punctuation level is "Most", which would read out square brackets. It's reasonable to assume that many screen reader users will alter the default punctuation level to something less intrusive though.

In Jaws at least, the punctuation settings are among the easier configurations to find, housed along with the speech rate and pitch settings, which many people also adapt fairly early on in their time using a screen reader.


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Alastair Campbell
Sent: 22 January 2007 19:15
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Alt text (was VIKI - text transcodeing)

Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
> Because the web is still, for the majority of users, a visual medium.
> Do you offer alternatives for the choice of colour of your background
> or links? No? Then why bother with colour at all?
> Same reason.

I know what you mean, but from talking to people using screen readers, I would go with including an alt if for no other reason than so they know it is there. If they talk to someone about the site, then the playing field is more level, and the experience more equivalent.

With regards to the square brackets, surely this is something that should be left upto the user agent?

I've added things like "Portrait of " when applicable, and I've added full stops at the end to make alts read better, but square brackets? I believe (and Léonie will elbow me if I'm wrong) that square brackets aren't read by Jaws on default settings, and other UAs may add them or something similar already.

I guess I just feel rather uncomfortable adding something to the content that may be a passing phase (like alt="*" thankfully was). If it is a good idea, the UAs may start adding it...

Still, I do find screen reader's habit of reading images as part of the document flow rather unintuitive (i.e. without pause unless you use punctuation).

Kind regards,


Alastair Campbell | Director of User Experience

Nomensa Email Disclaimer: