by Webnme2 on Mar 20th 2010
Preparing for Assistive Technologies
As you design your web pages you should be giving some thought to how well your pages will perform for a disabled visitor using assistive technologies. This is not an easy task. For example, reader programs do not use a standardized approach to interpreting a web page. If for example, if a user is viewing your page with IBM’s voice reader and encounters an unordered list like the following:
It will read the list as “red blue green” without a pause. If you code your unordered list with periods, it will pause at the end of each item helping the visitor to know you have a list.
If your visitor is using JAWS, the reader will read the list with pauses. If you add punctuation marks, it will read a “.” as “period” and a “-” as dash.
Recommendation: Consider adding punctuation to pages whenever you would like a reader program to pause for visitors to your page who are using assistive technologies. At worst they will hear the punctuation mark. For many, it will prevent your pages from sounding like an incomprehensible string of words.
Screen Readers That Are Worth a Look