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  1. #1
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    The semantics of »

    The "»" character (») is often used as a textual-arrow symbol, in menus and navigation bars, and in crumbtrails.

    But given that it's really a French close-quotation mark, isn't it semantically dubious to use it as an arrow?

    Any thoughts?
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    I wouldn't think so, it's a usage that anyone understands even if their language uses it for other things. Besides, in English, it certainly isn't a semantics problem, as it doesn't have any defined meaning there.

    BTW, when we're at it, did you know that there are languages that use
    « and » as close and opening quote, respectively, as well as languages that use them as opening and close quote respectively? (This goes for almost all quote marks that use different opening and closing characters... The super/sub quote marks being the only exception that I know of.)
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    Well after many hours of intense focused thought on this issue all I have to say is.....huh?
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    ... which sums up about all that can be said about the issue.

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    Sounds about right I just wanted to ask..
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    Just one more thing...


    how well supported might one expect &amp;rarr; || &amp;larr; to be: equal to &amp;raquo; || &amp;laquo; ... or lesser so?
    hmm... ?

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    speaking french it is not a problem for me... It is used in a "new language" context, with its codes and rules. So I cannot get confused. I don't think this use is not appropriate.

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    Kind of related...

    could these symbols be 'wrong' to use ?
    < Back
    Next >

    < [&lt;]
    > [&gt;]

    I'm wondering if Jaws says "smaller than, Back" and "Next, greater than" according to my example above ?

    Because if it does, a menu that relies on these symbols could pretty much confuse those who use Jaws, mainly blinds and dyslectics, no ?

  • #9
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    I wouldn't use it. Accesibility wise, using a character like that isn't nice to screen-readers. You could convert it to an image, but then text-only browsers won't get something that's easily done with text. Character Map describes it as 'Right Pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark', so it's a bit hefty to use it as an 'advance' arrow.

    Remember, there's always plenty more Unicode characters you can use.
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    Yeah this is exactly the question I'm still pondering - if an image is used instead of a symbol, the image still has to have alt text, and the most obvious alt text would be the original character symbol.

    For the record: for ">" JAWS says "greater", but IBM Home Page Reader says "greater than". For "»" JAWS says "right double angle bracket" while HPR says "blank"

    But if the menu structure is a list, JAWS can use the semantics of that to tell you what level you're on, so it probably shouldn't read the arrow text, because it doesn't have to. HPR gives no sense of the heirarchy, but since the menus have display toggles HPR can't see them anyway, so really it shouldn't read the arrow text either.

    What I really want is screenreaders not to see the arrow at all, but graphical browsers with images disabled to see a replacement indicator. Given that it's impossible to serve content specifically to or not to screenreaders, that's a moot desire.

    So after much experimentation, the best solution I've found so far is an image with the alt text "..." which is read out as "dot dot dot" - a well-known convention, both in writing and in speaking, to mean "and there's more".
    Last edited by brothercake; 12-15-2003 at 08:57 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    me'
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    Will screen readers read out alt text for an image if it's set? That could be useful.
    David House - Perfect is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. (Antoine de St. Exupery).
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  • #12
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    Yes, that's exactly what they read out. But if you have something like "submenu to the right" as the alt text, it's gonna looks stupid in graphical browsers with images turned off - a browser will expand the img container to as much space as the alt text needs, so it can't be more than 2 or 3 characters .. for the best of both worlds, anyway.
    Last edited by brothercake; 12-15-2003 at 08:58 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    How does one use those unicode characters, in the form of something I could create as a text node? And can they be used with impunity, without x-browser or platform issues?
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    Thank you brothercake, for your very informative posts!

    I've been posting on another board and people over there have no idea of how to make a site accessable, and when I tell 'em what I know, they ignore me because they say that they don't care plus "it's impossible to make a nice site accessable" [Ignorant people, ughh ]


    I think I know the basics of how to make a site accessable, maybe a little bit more, but not nearly enough. I want to sign up on the accessability-forums, but I can't find the link, could you[or anyone who has it] post it please ?

    sorry for the kind of off-topics

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    I use it in my navigation :-)

    It doesnt look bad actuatly...


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