Following this helps:

  • people with low English fluency – you're more likely to know the word "and" than a symbol
  • cognitive impairments – spelled out words take less mental effort to understand
  • visual impairments – text to speech users might experience a glitch with poorly coded ampersands


Some screen reading, text to speech 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, as it's taller than letters and an unusual shape.

Some users will not understand what it means.

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

Usability evidence

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

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

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


Created by Lizzie Bruce on 2019/03/06 17:04