Things we shouldn’t have to worry about with screen readers:

  1. Failing to:
    1. detect that a filename ending in .pdf or any link annotated with type="application/pdf" is actually a PDF
    2. differentiate visited and unvisited links
    3. find the obvious main content of a page, clearly indicated by a heading element followed by paragraphs of text
  2. Ignoring:
    1. ins/del
    2. longdesc
    3. empty form fields
    4. semantically significant punctuation, including quotation marks, parentheses, and brackets
    5. q
    6. map
    7. link
  3. Mispronouncing:
    1. “skip to content”
    2. » or other pi characters when obviously used as separators
    3. acronyms (detectable by change in case in various languages, viz. GUI, ATypI, GmbH, Srl), including plurals (CMSs)
    4. delimited numerals (2005.10.10)
  4. Misunderstanding:
    1. display: none and visibility: hidden
    2. any sequence that is unambiguous in the markup, including <a></a><a></a> or <a></a> <a></a>
    3. nested table headers
    4. imagemaps
    5. frames and iframes
    6. MathML
    7. Unicode
  5. Not reading:
    1. titles
    2. CSS3 generated content
    3. PDFs
  6. Switching languages in mid-page
  7. Activating form elements without an explicit keystroke (as with pull-down menus lacking a Go button)
  8. Screwing up even very simple JavaScript
  9. Turning off sounds that automatically play

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2005.10.10 18:01. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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