Screen Readers and CSS: Are We Going Out of Style (and into Content)?

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Geoff Graham on

The big takeaway in this post is that screen readers do not always read content the way it is styled in CSS. Toss in the fact that not all screen readers speak or read markup the same way and that there are differences in how they render content in different browsers and the results become…well different. Kind of like cross-browser testing CSS, but with speech.

The key points:

  • Different screen reader/browser pairings behave differently
  • DOM order is everything
  • Containers are only visual

That first point is crucial. For example, beware of using <sup> to style prices in place of using a proper decimal point between dollars and cents because some screen readers will read that as a whole number. Wait, you mean, the price is $12.99 and not $1,299? Phew. 😅

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