My rant on the abusive usage of raquo

Published on Tuesday November 14, 2017

More and more, I see people using the right angle quotation mark (», ») in navigational elements on websites. The right angle quotation mark as well as it's symmetrical sister are semantical elements designed to convey grammatical information: in many languages, such as French or Spanish, they are exactly what their name says they are: quotation marks. Using the glyph that represents them as a symbolic element, a substitue for an arrow of sorts, deforms this meaning, is semantically incorrect, and infuriates me very much.

There is no shortage of arrow symbols in unicode (as shown on this page), so using the double angle brackets as a substitute for an arrow is nothing short of laziness. You can start with the right arrow (→, →).

Ignoring the semantic correctness (and I can't believe I'm writing this) we encounter another problem: accessibility. Many screen readers will read out these characters, which is even more confusing because the name of raquo (often read as "right double angle bracket") does not sound like an arrow, unlike the right arrow mentioned above, which is read as "right arrow" : much more explicit.