[Athen] Screen reader punctuation issue

Adina Mulliken am2621 at hunter.cuny.edu
Fri Dec 13 17:19:28 PST 2019

Hi Debbie,
I don't know but I'm glad you asked. That sure would be a help for webpages meant to teach screen reader users how to write out references in a certain citation style.
I'll look forward to responses.

Adina Mulliken

Assistant Professor, Librarian

Social Work and Urban Public Health Library

Hunter College, CUNY

Phone: 212-396-7665

Pronouns: she, her

Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:18:22 -0500
From: Debbie Krahmer <dkrahmer at colgate.edu>
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
<athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Screen reader punctuation issue

Hi everyone,

I'm working with some faculty on a library/archives tutorial for students
on how to use our Finding Aides search engine. There's one section of the
tutorial that is demonstrating how using quotation marks around a phrase
forces the search box to search it as a single phrase, as opposed to two
separate words connected by a boolean operator. The first time it is done,
it's obvious (to me as a NVDA screen reader user) that the pauses are
indicating that the example is, indeed, using the quotation marks.

However, there's a list of example searches that students might use, some
of which are phrases that use quotation marks. Visually, it's really
obvious that this is done to emphasize when and how a phrase should have
quotation marks around it.

Audibly, I can't tell when a phrase is in quotation marks or when a phrase
isn't. Maybe it's not necessary to have the extra reminders about enclosing
a phrase in quotation marks, but it is an instance where a
screen-reader-user wouldn't be receiving the same information that a
non-screen-reader-user would be on the page.

I know I can up the verbosity of NVDA, so it will read punctuation, but I
wouldn't know to do that for this page ahead of time. and it drives me nuts
to have it like that all the time. I wouldn't assume that a student would
just know to up their verbosity when reading a tutorial.

Is there a way with ARIA to indicate when its important for the screen
reader to actually say the punctuation for a few examples? Something to
tell it when to read something as "quote buildings and grounds quote"
versus "buildings and grounds."

Debbie Krahmer
Preferred Pronouns: My name/no pronouns

Associate Professor in the Libraries
Accessible Technology & Government Documents Librarian
304 Case-Geyer
Colgate University
dkrahmer at colgate.edu

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