[Athen] Accessible "fill in the blank"

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Mon Jan 7 07:57:20 PST 2019

I'm most used to seeing the first example:

Water molecules contain the elements ________ and _________

But never "replace the underline, I just type where the underline begins.
LOL I've been doing it wrong all of these years!

I will say, that as someone who uses a screen reader, it is often difficult
to select all of the underline and replace it which is why I just start
beeping at the beginning of the underline in forms with this type of

In reading both examples using my screen reader, I know where the blanks are
in the underline version but didn't know where the blanks were in the second
example as my screen reader reads the question. I had to reread the second
example several times before I caught the "blank" and am still not sure that
I have it.

Even if people are like me and don't remove the underline, just answer the
question, it seems to me that keeping the underline gives the most
information to anyone filling in this question and covers many disabilities
and allows for printing of the form if needed..

Am interested in other thoughts though.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Christine Robinson
Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 10:40 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Accessible "fill in the blank"

Hi all -

What's the best way of providing "fill in the blank" space in a Word
document? Faculty members are asking me how to do this in an accessible
manner, for students using screen readers - and I'm "drawing a blank," so to

The traditional approaches have been

1. typing a line

For example:

Water molecules contain the elements ________ and _________.

2. leaving blank space

For example:

List the elements in a molecule of carbon:

With either traditional approach, if the document is filled out
electronically, then the line or space is intended to be replaced with
typewritten text. If the document is printed, then the line or space is
written on by hand.

If the document were to be printed, then I would use paragraph spacing for
my example in #2, so that there aren't repeated blanks, but that wouldn't be
a good idea if students were going to answer the questions on their

There are so many details to making electronic documents accessible! And I
know it would be easier if faculty members put their content on web pages
instead of in electronic documents, but that isn't a change we can make in
the near future.

Thanks for any help you can offer -


Christine Robinson | Technical Trainer/Writer | Center for Teaching

Georgia Gwinnett College | 1000 University Center Lane| Lawrenceville, GA

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