em and strong are not announced by screen readers
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Semantic HTML is the foundation of accessible websites. Correct and meaningful elements enable assistive technology to provide a site's information in a different form or shape. A screen reader, for example, takes a site and reads it out for the visitor. These cases show why semantic HTML matters!
And yet here I am after all these years of advocating for using
strong (strong importance, seriousness, or urgency) and
em (stress emphasis) instead of
b (bold) and
i (idiomatic text – italic), only to learn that screen readers don't announce
And while I'm not a daily screen reader user, and VoiceOver isn't the only one out there, a quick test on my Mac proves it.
Martin Underhill shares more resources on his blog if you want to learn more.
Edit: Steve Faulkner shared that some screen readers have a "style reporting" option which can convey additional information. This setting is far off the default, though.