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Mark up quotations (WCAG 1.0, 3.7)

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Reply with quote Checkpoint 3.7 of WCAG 1.0 says:
WCAG 1.0 wrote:

3.7 Mark up quotations. Do not use quotation markup for formatting effects such as indentation. [Priority 2]


The second part of that phrase means, of course, that you shouldn't use blockquote for indentation if what you intend to indent is no blockquote.

But the first part is giving me some doubts. According to the guideline, I should mark up inline quotations as <q>some quotation</q>. Fair enough, but in Real Life this is not so practical. Several UAs, including the ever popular IE6 and it successor IE7, do not automatically add quotation marks before and after the q element. What's worse, they don't recognize q:before and q:after, so you can't even use CSS to add the quotes. This means that for a large part of your audience, it will not be clear that some part of your text is an inline quote.

The alternative is to put the quotation marks in the content itself. To me, this makes sense, because I don't see how quotation marks are different from other punctuation. They are an integral part of the content. But if you do <q>"some quotation"</q>, those UAs conforming to the specs will add quotation marks themselves, so the result will be ""some quotation"". You can put a q { quotes: none; } in your stylesheet, but the page is supposed to look good without styling as well (e.g. when reading offline).

To confuse matter even further, the XHTML2 draft specifies that
XHTML 2.0 wrote:

Visual user agents must not by default add delimiting quotation marks (as was the case for the q element in earlier versions of XHTML and HTML). It is the responsibility of the document author to add any required quotation marks, either directly in the text, or via a style sheet.


What do you think is best?
1. Stick to the specs with <q>quote</q> and too bad for the majority of users that they won't recognize a quote when they read it;
2. Use extra quotation marks (<q>"quote"</q>) and too bad for users of conforming UAs if they see double quotes at times?
3. Ignore checkpoint 3.7 and just write "quote"?
Reply with quote Like you say, later specs like XHTML 2.0 have doen an about face on the matter, clearly someone decided that the author should contrl the markup.

Add to tht that the quotes are buggy. I fought with the idea that having a quote marked as a quote for semantics and maybe a citation attribute is good, however no "" could make the phrase confusing. On the other hand ""I am not a crook."", double quotations looks stupid makes you look dumb.

So I generally just use my own quotes "I am not a crook" - Richard Nixon

It is always the fight between semantics and practicality + browser support. I took practicality over semantics on this one.

--
[size=9]Kyle J. Lamson
Analyst/Programmer III, State of Alaska
Reply with quote Are there currently any UA that add the quotation marks? I don't genetally mark up quotations for the reasons lsw does.

Jonathan Worent

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Reply with quote
jw_developer wrote:
Are there currently any UA that add the quotation marks?

yes, I think most bar IE. The most practical method I encountered was to use <q> and quotes in the text, and tell the browsers supporting css not to put quotes in.

You may find that browsers which don't support css (Lynx?) will give double quotes but I reckoned this was the best way to apply to the majority of users.
Reply with quote You beat me to it.

I did some quick testing and Mozilla, and Opera do add quotes, IE6 doesn't (big surprise Rolling Eyes )

This turns the quotes off for conforming browser.
Code:
q:before, q:after {content: ""; }


Oddly using either before or after only was enough to turn both sets of quotes off for FF



A Related question: Do screenreaders stress marked up quotations the same as non marked up quotations using quote marks? Also do they change their stress if you use <q> and quote mark?

Jonathan Worent

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Reply with quote Since languages have their own punctuation for quotations, the WCAG guideline could only reasonably interpreted as “mark up block quotations with blockquote” and nothing more.
Reply with quote
joeclark wrote:
Since languages have their own punctuation for quotations, the WCAG guideline could only reasonably interpreted as “mark up block quotations with blockquote” and nothing more.


The language thing can be done with (example from CSS2.1 specs):

[quote="Example code"]
html:lang(fr-ca) { quotes: '« ' ' »' }
html:lang(de) { quotes: '»' '«' '\2039' '\203A' }
:lang(fr) > Q { quotes: '« ' ' »' }
:lang(de) > Q { quotes: '»' '«' '\2039' '\203A' }
[quote]

But IMHO that's only adding more complexity to something that really belongs in the raw data, just like parentheses and question marks.
Reply with quote
garmt wrote:
But IMHO that's only adding more complexity to something that really belongs in the raw data, just like parentheses and question marks.


I agree. Punctuation, being a part of sentence structure, is a pat of the content.

Jonathan Worent

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


Last edited by jw_developer on 11 Aug 2006 06:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
Reply with quote And so are the markers in ordered lists?

Simon Pieters
Reply with quote
zcorpan wrote:
And so are the markers in ordered lists?

That'd be my understanding, particularly after reading this on markup and diacritical notation.

Bullet points are a markup which identify the following text as an item in a list. Quotation marks are markup which identify the enclosed text as a quotation. HTML replaces both with tags but using your own local punctuation marks to markup a quotation turns out to be much better if you want your text to be understood. I think that's a good summary of the current state of play.

Jim O'Donnell
work: Royal Observatory Greenwich
play: eatyourgreens
Reply with quote Why not just add "" around the quote and mark it up with a <span> for screenreaders Confused

Mike Abbott
Accessible to everyone
Reply with quote
Mikea wrote:
Why not just add "" around the quote and mark it up with a <span> for screenreaders Confused

Surely screenreaders should be able to recognise that quotation marks alone mark up text as a quotation?

Jim O'Donnell
work: Royal Observatory Greenwich
play: eatyourgreens
Reply with quote Probably, but I'm a total novice on that point Sad

Mike Abbott
Accessible to everyone
Reply with quote
Mikea wrote:
Probably, but I'm a total novice on that point Sad

Me too, but it seems silly to use a span where you've already got punctuation to do the job.

I mean, when we markup "Here is a list of things: apple, orange, pears." in HTML, we don't replace the colon and commas with <ul> and <li> to tell browsers that the text, semantically speaking, is a list. That would be a world turned topsy-turvy. Smile

Jim O'Donnell
work: Royal Observatory Greenwich
play: eatyourgreens
Reply with quote
eatyourgreens wrote:
Mikea wrote:
Why not just add "" around the quote and mark it up with a <span> for screenreaders Confused

Surely screenreaders should be able to recognise that quotation marks alone mark up text as a quotation?


Maybe, as long as the structure is not too complicated. What would a screenreader make of this:

'Have you been at O'Hara's party?' asked Murphy.

Correct parsing will be much easier if you take the XHTML 2.0 road:

<q>'Have you been at O'Hara's party?'</q> asked Murphy.

Of course it's a small step from that to

<sentence><q>'<question>Have you been at O'Hara's party?</question>'</q> asked Murphy.</sentence>

... and that's where the colonel should come in: Stop it, this is getting silly again. Very Happy

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