Full Stops

This won’t be a long post, I just want to share something I learned recently.

Yesterday, I visited my friend and colleague Lilian Soon at her home. We were discussing the potential for supporting and delivering the new iTQ in Accessible practice across our region. Part of this discussion was to compile a proposal for the local Regional Support Centre.

During our discussions, and whilst compiling the proposal on a shared Google Doc, Lilian remarked that we should really put full stops at the end of our bulleted lists, as this helps screen readers to know what they were reading and therefore to make the whole list (of bullets) clearer to the ‘viewer’. Aesthetically, I’d always thought that bulleted lists looked better without full stops or commas, but the minute Lilian mentioned screen readers – I ‘got’ it.

This is a prime example of how small changes to practice, often quite irrelevant to most people’s thinking can make significant benefits to the way in which learners access learning. That’s it. that’s all I wanted to say: put full stops at the end of your bulleted lists, to make screen readers function better.


I forgot that Lilian (in a Tweet of her own yesterday) and then @petejbell (quoted) in a Tweet today said: “Y11 pupil suggested “why not make full stop same colour as background?

Also @didaw said on Twitter: “otherwise screen readers won’t catch a breath!”


5 Responses to “Full Stops”

  1. Tweets that mention Full Stops « EduVel -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Sugden, David Sugden. David Sugden said: #accessibility http://is.gd/ir6o0 Blog Post […]

  2. armaitus Says:

    I think I see what you mean.

    I tend not to use full stops at the end of my bulleted lists, as a rule… I’ll try harder 😉

    • dsugden Says:

      The given advice seems to be ‘make your full stops white (or the same colour as your background) to fulfil accessibility function AND satisfy your own aesthetic preferences.


  3. Dughall Says:

    I had never thought of this before and, like you, have never put full stops at the end of my bullet points for similar reasons.

    It does beg the question, though as to whether a screen reader shouldn’t just ‘know’ that it is dealing with a bulleted list and behave accordingly.

    • dsugden Says:

      I don’t fully understand how screen readers work, but I do know from previous work that things like tables, images and hyper-links can be a real problem.

      Someone once let me listen to JAWS reading out a something on the internet: from opening the web-page to getting into the content took longer than you’d think as JAWS read out all of the code etc ‘as well’.


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