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Test: Screen Readers and the q Element

Last updated: 18 October 2006

Notes

These tests came about from a discussion on Accessify Forum about the q element and screen readers following an article on A List Apart: “Long Live the Q Tag”. The tests are a very simple attempt to discover exactly how the q element is handled by screen readers, although tests so far have only been carried out using a default JAWS 7.10 install with Firefox 1.5 and Internet Explorer 6.

There is further discussion on this topic in the comments of the A List Apart article, and a related test here: Support for CSS2 Aural Style Sheets / CSS3 Speech Module.

Note: In test 5, using the typographically correct glyphs for the nested quotation gets read as apostrophes by JAWS, so I have used double quotes.

Simple Quotes Tests

Test 1: using a single q element

John said, I saw Lucy at lunch. Then John said something else.

Test 2: using English curved quotes

John said, “I saw Lucy at lunch.” Then John said something else.

Test 3: using straight quotation marks

John said, "I saw Lucy at lunch." Then John said something else.

Nested Quotes Tests

Test 4: using nested q elements

John said, I saw Lucy at lunch, she told me Mary wants you to get some ice cream on your way home. I think I will get some at Ben and Jerry's, on Gloucester Road.

Test 5: nested using English curved quotes

John said, “I saw Lucy at lunch, she told me “Mary wants you to get some ice cream on your way home.” I think I will get some at Ben and Jerry's, on Gloucester Road.”

Test 6: nested using English curved quotes and <span> elements to set lang attributes

John said, “I saw Lucy at lunch, she told me “Mary wants you to get some ice cream on your way home.” I think I will get some at Ben and Jerry's, on Gloucester Road.”

Results

To echo my reply to the Accessify Forum thread, a quick test using a default JAWS 7.10 install with Firefox 1.5 and Internet Explorer 6 gives the following results:

Joe Clark, as always, puts it better than I could: Alleged accessibility.