[thelist] Acronym and abbr tags

Steven Streight steven.streight at gmail.com
Fri Jan 26 12:54:16 CST 2007

I would not go by any style book or print precedent, at least not
exclusively. I know that RSS, PHP, LOL, BTW, and other acronyms are  widely
used and known, but it always already depends on the audience.

You need, to be or to hire, a good web writer to solve this. I imagine that
you could have a footnote system or some other means of handling the
acronyms, since I agree that spelling out the full words all the time could
cause layout problems and interfere with hurried, impatient information
foraging by users.

Just realize that each page of the site has to have some decoding of the
acronyms, since you never know what page a user will land on. Assume that
each page must be fully self-explanatory. Users should not have to search
for the one page that defines the acronyms or other esoteric terms.

"You are not the user", is my mantra.

On 1/26/07, Joel D Canfield <joel at streamliine.com> wrote:
> > i can think of one which has ~three times~ as many syllables
> > when spoken as
> > the expression it stands for
> and is, as far as I know, entirely obsolete; or would be, if all wwweb
> servers were properly configured
> the point that the acronym question has been addressed in print for a
> couple hundred years is well taken, but the web isn't print, even when
> it comes to style. or maybe, *especially* when it comes to style.
> books don't have the multidimensional ability to refer to the full text
> of an acronym every single time it's used without cluttering a reader's
> vision. nor do they offer the ability to let the user choose whether
> they want acronyms expanded always, never, or on first use. the web lets
> you do that, should you so choose. that way, you don't have to decide on
> behalf of the user which is best.
> joel
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Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Web Usability. Blog Revolution. Online Marketing.

EMAIL steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com



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