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Home » Why microwave/oven is right but wrong and microwave / oven is wrong but right!

Why microwave/oven is right but wrong and microwave / oven is wrong but right!  

on May 1, 2022 at 8:53am |Updated on September 14, 2022 at 3:08pm A man sitting in a wheelchair at a desk with a laptop, raising his right hand. He appears to be asking a question or participating in an online meeting. An open notebook and eyeglasses are on the desk. The background shows large windows with greenery outside.

Do not ask me why but it never seemed to look right, when there is not a space on either side of a slash.

To me, microwave/oven just does not look correct so I always put spaces in, ie. microwave / oven

Grammarly, of course, always gently reminds me to take the spaces out and of course I always reluctantly do.

However, never again will I do this!


Here is why.

I have just finished another audit with Iona who, along with Mede and Sara, is on my fantastic website accessibility testing team. She was trying to choose options on a form using her preferred method of dictation only. No mouse, no keyboard, just her spoken words.

There is a selection of words with checkboxes on the form. All of the words are single words like “television” and Iona would say the word “television”, that checkbox would be highlighted. She would the. say the word “select” and, as if by magic, it would be ticked.

One of the tick boxes was microwave/oven. Iona said the word “microwave” which, in the normal course of things, should have been enough. It was not. It was only when she actually said “microwave slash oven“ that the check box was highlighted and she could select it.

Had there been a space on either side of the slash, she could have quite easily said the word “microwave” or said the word “oven” and the check box would have been selected.

You may be wondering what would have happened. if these words appeared more than once. In the following example, the checkbox is represented by the underscore eg: microwave _ oven _ microwave / oven_

If Iona had said "microwave", both checkboxes would have been highlighted and a number would have appeared next to each one, so all Iona would have to say was "select 1" or "select 2".

Little things like this made a real difference to someone who cannot use a mouse or a keyboard and this is why I will always put a space between either side of a slash in future.

I would rather be wrong but right any day! Will you do the same?

Caption: A young man in wheelchair in an online meeting and raising his hand with a question

Clive Loseby

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