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Test: Pronunciation of “content” in various contexts

Last updated: 05 October 2006

Notes

On this page, emphasis is italicised and emboldened for visual clarity.

The word "content" can be spoken with different emphasis by screen readers depending on the context in which the word is used. For example, sometimes a screen reader may say "content" (as in "satisfied" or "happy") when you mean it to say "content" (as in "text" or "essence").

A common fix found on Web pages, especially in skip links, is to add a word in front of the word "content". For skip links, you often want to lead the visitor to the main content of the page, so the word "main" may be added. This clarifies context for your visitors (i.e. the meaning of the word) and will make screen readers speak the word correctly.

Tests

  1. content
  2. "content"
  3. main content
  4. skip to content
  5. skip to main content
  6. jump to content
  7. jump to main content
  8. He was quite content to skip the content on the page.
  9. He was quite content to skip the main content on the page.

Results

In these results, emphasis is added to show how the screen reader being tested speaks the words, i.e. content versus content.

JAWS 7.10

  1. content
  2. "content"
  3. main content (incorrect)
  4. skip to content (incorrect)
  5. skip to main content
  6. jump to content (incorrect)
  7. jump to main content
  8. He was quite content to skip the content on the page.
  9. He was quite content to skip the main content on the page.

These results show that the way some words are pronounced is highly dependent on context.

The word "content" on its own is read with emphasis on the first syllable ("content").

The words "main content" on their own will be read incorrectly by JAWS, yet "skip/jump to main content" is read as expected. When the word "main" is missing from in front of "content", JAWS will sometimes emphasise the latter part of the word "content" (i.e. the second syllable). Compare the last few tests. The "skip/jump" examples need to have the word "main" in them for the text to be read as required, yet the final two longer examples are spoken the same way both with and without the word "main" being included.