In general, screen readers do not recognize abbreviations and acronyms, and generally read them as if they were typical English words. For instance the phrase "ITS at PSU" would not be read by screen readers as the intended "I.T.S. at P.S.U.", but as "It’s at Sue". Here are some workarounds to help deal with this issue.


  1. Using periods between letters (e.g. P.S.U. versus PSU) in an acronym may help screen readers parse the acronym.
  2. When writing ALT tags with acronyms, add spaces between characters (e.g. <alt="P S U" >).
  3. For unusual abbreviations and acronyms, supply a key with their meaning (e.g. "ITS (Information Technology Services"))

Note on ABBR and ACRONYM Tags

In the past the use of ABBR or ACRONYM tags has been recommended, but due to browser inconsistencies, it is difficult to use one tag consistently.

For example, HTML 5 is deprecating the ACRONYM tag, yet this tag has been more widely supported in older browsers, including Internet Explorer 6.

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