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Thread: en-dash, dash and minus

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Number of posts in this thread: 6 (In chronological order)

From: Isabel Holdsworth
Date: Fri, Jul 27 2018 6:18AM
Subject: en-dash, dash and minus
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Hi all,

Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.

I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.

Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
users.

Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
accessible.

I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.

What do you guys think?

We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks as always, Lynn

From: Jonathan Cohn
Date: Fri, Jul 27 2018 9:09AM
Subject: Re: en-dash, dash and minus
← Previous message | Next message →

I am fairly certain that most screen readers are likely to read the dash as a dash. On the other hand, when using mathematical expressions with fractions or more complex, you should look at using MathML, though I believe there are issues in some AT when a MATHMl expression is used as a label for a radio button and/or checkbox.

Jonathan

> On Jul 27, 2018, at 8:18 AM, Isabel Holdsworth < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.
>
> I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
> upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.
>
> Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
> the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
> that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
> users.
>
> Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
> we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
> accessible.
>
> I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
> available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.
>
> What do you guys think?
>
> We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
> tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.
>
> Thanks as always, Lynn
> > > >

From: chagnon@pubcom.com
Date: Fri, Jul 27 2018 9:38AM
Subject: Re: en-dash, dash and minus
← Previous message | Next message →

A minus is a minus.
A dash is ... well, which dash are you referring to? An em-dash or an en-dash? They are both different in terms of grammar usage and have different meanings. There's nothing in grammar or typography called a dash.

What you used in your email was a hyphen, not a dash. The hyphen is used to connect two words (as in a compound word) or two fragmennts of a word (when hyphenated at the end of a line). It's not a dash, even if people call it that. It's a hyphen and that's how it was programmed in our earliest computer technologies.

In Microsoft Office, it's easy to insert an em-dash, en-dash, or minus as long as you know the Unicode codepoint for each:

Type the 4-character codepoint, followed by Alt plus X keys, and it converts the codepoint to the correct Unicode character. Open up MS Word and try this:

Em-dash is 2014, used between sentence phrases for a more dramatic shift if focus. Should create a long pause with screen readers.

En-dash is 2013, used in a series, such as 9 to 5, January through December.

Minus is 2212.

If you're doing math and science, then use the correct symbol, the minus sign, if you want students to learn and pass their exams.

--Bevi
— — —
Bevi Chagnon, founder/CEO | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
— — —
PubCom: Technologists for Accessible Design + Publishing
consulting • training • development • design • sec. 508 services
Upcoming classes at www.PubCom.com/classes
— — —
Latest blog-newsletter – Accessibility Tips

-----Original Message-----
> On Jul 27, 2018, at 8:18 AM, Isabel Holdsworth < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.
>
> I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
> upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.
>
> Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
> the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
> that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
> users.
>
> Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
> we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
> accessible.
>
> I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
> available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.
>
> What do you guys think?
>
> We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
> tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.
>
> Thanks as always, Lynn

From: chagnon@pubcom.com
Date: Fri, Jul 27 2018 9:40AM
Subject: Re: en-dash, dash and minus
← Previous message | Next message →

A minus is a minus.
A dash is ... well, which dash are you referring to? An em-dash or an en-dash? They are both different in terms of grammar usage and have different meanings. There's nothing in grammar or typography called a dash.

What you used in your email was a hyphen, not a dash. The hyphen is used to connect two words (as in a compound word) or two fragmennts of a word (when hyphenated at the end of a line). It's not a dash, even if people call it that. It's a hyphen and that's how it was programmed in our earliest computer technologies.

In Microsoft Office, it's easy to insert an em-dash, en-dash, or minus as long as you know the Unicode codepoint for each:

Type the 4-character codepoint, followed by Alt plus X keys, and it converts the codepoint to the correct Unicode character. Open up MS Word and try this:

Em-dash is 2014, used between sentence phrases for a more dramatic shift if focus. Should create a long pause with screen readers.

En-dash is 2013, used in a series, such as 9 to 5, January through December.

Minus is 2212.

If you're doing math and science, then use the correct symbol, the minus sign, if you want students to learn and pass their exams.

--Bevi
— — —
Bevi Chagnon, founder/CEO | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
— — —
PubCom: Technologists for Accessible Design + Publishing
consulting • training • development • design • sec. 508 services
Upcoming classes at www.PubCom.com/classes
— — —
Latest blog-newsletter – Accessibility Tips

-----Original Message-----
> On Jul 27, 2018, at 8:18 AM, Isabel Holdsworth < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.
>
> I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
> upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.
>
> Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
> the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
> that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
> users.
>
> Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
> we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
> accessible.
>
> I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
> available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.
>
> What do you guys think?
>
> We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
> tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.
>
> Thanks as always, Lynn

From: Mallory
Date: Mon, Jul 30 2018 1:34AM
Subject: Re: en-dash, dash and minus
← Previous message | Next message →

I recently needed to know about what mathy stuff we could rely on default settings to read out:
http://www.stommepoes.nl/work/symboltest.html

Not having access to iThings means I relied on a (now getting quite old) Deque page for VoiceOver.

cheers,

On Fri, Jul 27, 2018, at 5:40 PM, = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = wrote:
> A minus is a minus.
> A dash is ... well, which dash are you referring to? An em-dash or an
> en-dash? They are both different in terms of grammar usage and have
> different meanings. There's nothing in grammar or typography called a
> dash.
>
> What you used in your email was a hyphen, not a dash. The hyphen is used
> to connect two words (as in a compound word) or two fragmennts of a word
> (when hyphenated at the end of a line). It's not a dash, even if people
> call it that. It's a hyphen and that's how it was programmed in our
> earliest computer technologies.
>
> In Microsoft Office, it's easy to insert an em-dash, en-dash, or minus
> as long as you know the Unicode codepoint for each:
>
> Type the 4-character codepoint, followed by Alt plus X keys, and it
> converts the codepoint to the correct Unicode character. Open up MS Word
> and try this:
>
> Em-dash is 2014, used between sentence phrases for a more dramatic shift
> if focus. Should create a long pause with screen readers.
>
> En-dash is 2013, used in a series, such as 9 to 5, January through December.
>
> Minus is 2212.
>
> If you're doing math and science, then use the correct symbol, the minus
> sign, if you want students to learn and pass their exams.
>
> --Bevi
> — — —
> Bevi Chagnon, founder/CEO | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> — — —
> PubCom: Technologists for Accessible Design + Publishing
> consulting • training • development • design • sec. 508 services
> Upcoming classes at www.PubCom.com/classes
> — — —
> Latest blog-newsletter – Accessibility Tips
>
> -----Original Message-----
> > On Jul 27, 2018, at 8:18 AM, Isabel Holdsworth < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.
> >
> > I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
> > upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.
> >
> > Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
> > the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
> > that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
> > users.
> >
> > Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
> > we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
> > accessible.
> >
> > I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
> > available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.
> >
> > What do you guys think?
> >
> > We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
> > tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.
> >
> > Thanks as always, Lynn
>
> > > >

From: Mohith BP
Date: Mon, Jul 30 2018 2:50AM
Subject: Re: en-dash, dash and minus
← Previous message | No next message

Hi,

Please use HTML math symbols.
for minus it is one of the following:
<span> &minus; </span>
or
<span> &#8722;</span>
or
<span> &#x2212; </span>

Refer the complete HTML math reference below:
https://www.w3schools.com/charsets/ref_utf_math.asp


Thanks & Regards,
Mohith B. P.
On 7/27/18, Isabel Holdsworth < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> Yet another niggly accessibility issue I could do with your thoughts on.
>
> I'm working on some eAssessment software that allows teachers to
> upload maths questions and their pupils to answer them online.
>
> Some of the teachers are using the en-dash (–) character instead of
> the minus (−) sign, because it's wider and easier to see. But we feel
> that en-dash doesn't convey the subtraction operation to screenreader
> users.
>
> Since there's no easy way to enter a minus sign using the keyboard,
> we're trying to come up with a compromise that makes the content more
> accessible.
>
> I think the dash (-) character is a good alternative, and it's widely
> available and IMO widely understood to denote subtraction.
>
> What do you guys think?
>
> We really want to offer the best experience we can to kids sitting
> tests using our software, so I'd appreciate your thoughts.
>
> Thanks as always, Lynn
> > > > >