When thinking foremost about accessibility, is there any issue in replacing the word "at" with the @ (at sign)?

Example 1: "meet me @ 2pm" vs. "meet me at 2pm"

Example 2: "Topic@Company" vs. "Topic @ Company" vs. "Topic at Company"

Does this confuse screen readers or users—perhaps make them think an email address is coming? I couldn't find any resources on the topic.


This sort of fits into a few different WCAG checkpoints, but you might have to stretch your interpretation of the guidelines a bit.

  • 3.1.3 Unusual Words - You might not consider the @ sign an "unusual word" (or even a "word" at all)
  • 3.1.4 Abbreviations - You might not consider the @ sign an abbreviation, but it kind of is for the word "at".
  • 3.1.5 Reading Level - The reading level to understand that @ means "at" might fall into the category of "advanced" reading level.
  • 3.1.6 Pronunciation - This is usually applied to real words and not symbols but the guideline doesn't specifically say that.

Most screen readers will say "at" but a screen reader user is just one persona. You have to consider people with reading disabilities too. Is it common for most everyone to associate @ with "at"? That would require a bit of research.

Unless there's a really good reason to use @, I would use "at" instead.

  • My initial thought was to look into the abbreviations checkpoint, but I think the reading level is an interesting one I had not considered.
    – magzalez
    Aug 3 at 13:52

Ultimately this will depend on the capabilities of the screen reader. But I think for safe measure you should use 'at'. It's only 2 characters.

  • Thanks for your answer! I'm trying to build a case for allowing or denying a request to use the @ symbol as part of a name in text on a website, so I'm looking for some data or expertise to decide one way or another.
    – magzalez
    Jul 30 at 17:36

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