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Part of: Grammar points

Ampersands

Last updated: 20 December, 2019

Following this helps people with:

  • non-fluency: "and" is more widely known and understood

  • cognitive impairments: spelled out words require less mental effort

  • visual impairments: "and" is easy to code and non-problematic for speech software

Guidelines

Some screen reading and text to speech software and applications need the ampersand sign to be coded in a different way in HTML. You may not have control over that. 

The symbol can be a distractor, it stands out as it is taller than most letters and is an unusual shape. Some users will not understand what it means.

1. Use "and" not the ampersand symbol "&"

Usability evidence


1. Use "and" not the ampersand symbol "&"

Always, except for:

  • academic references: Brown, G & Smith, P, 2005

  • company name as it appears on the Companies House register

  • descriptions of logo images, for example "M&S logo"


Usability evidence: abbreviations and acronyms

GOV.UK Style Guide A to Z UK Government website

"What is preferred to use in alt text “&” or “&” for screenreader users?", 2010

'What Character Was Removed From The Alphabet?' 2011

'Why Don’t Screen Readers Always Read What’s on the Screen? Part 1: Punctuation and Typographic Symbols', 2014

Etymonline entry on ampersand, 2017

'Punctuation & Grammar: Bridging the Gap Between UX and Copywriting' 2017

'Analyzing the Ampersand: When to use “and” versus “&” in UX writing.' 2018

Ampersands, Oxford English Dictionary. Needs subscription


Relevant wiki content


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