Bouncing my forehead against my palm, “Duh!”
I do that kind of thing all the time, why didn’t I think of doing it for the screen reader?
For example, I needed to make a table of contents for graphics within a PDF. I put the graphic on the line, the customary leader of five alternating periods and spaces and then where the page number would go was left blank. I then put an anchor on the graphic where it was used in the document. I went back to the leader periods and made them a hyperlink to the anchor. When I made the file a PDF, I turned off coloring and underlining the links. Thus, to a sighted person, the leader dots between the graphic and the page number don’t look like a hyperlink. And, the PDF inserted the page numbers for me. To the PDF, it thought it was inserting page numbers for the link. To the sighted person, they are page numbers to the graphic!
Sadly, for you , it would have read something like “Start hyperlink Start . . . . . page 3”. Which begs the question, does NVDA read pdf page references? --Sorry for the digression.
Anyway, I’ll look into your suggestion.
----- Original Message -----
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Gene
One thing you could do is add an extra line at the end of the text, using black on black contrast. Screen-readers will read it but people won't see it. The line might list the wildcard characters and make whatever brief comments you have in mind. You might want to write out the signs such as with the word asterisk. But if it is preferable for sighted users to leave the line they would see as it is, this would avoid any degreedation of the site from a sighted user's point of view.