W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > November 2012

Re: main spec updated - changes to parsing and rendering

From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 21:20:14 +1100
Message-ID: <CAHp8n2mjvfd4GDuZz5px+wOUfq2FnnGbM6LkxmVcWbO-bPPfwg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 7:39 PM, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi Silvia,
>
> >this should be something that every Web page/application provides for.
>
> It should be something that authors/developers add when the content of the
> document contains a sub content area that can be logically identified as
> the main content, distinct from other sub content areas.
>
>
> As specified main is not a required element nor is it expected that
> browsers will add an implied main semantic to every document, which is why
> there is no requirement to parse every web page as per your example.
>


Thanks for the clarification. Let me then put forward the suggestion to
change this, because I think if we leave the use of <main> on a voluntary
basis, we will likely fail with this element.

I think we should be bold and actually ask to make <main> a required
element on Web pages - whether author provided or not. This means that in
the cases where the author does not provide a <main> element, the browsers
have to create one. They can use a good heuristic to position it - such as
"before the first <article> element on the page" or "before the first <h1>
element on the page" or "after any <menu>, <header> or <aside> element" or
all of the above and a bit more. Something we can codify for HTML.

I'm saying this because if browser are forced to create a <main> element,
every author will see in their inspector where the browser place the <main>
element and they can validate and correct it by explicitly creating the
<main> element.

If instead we make it a voluntary element as proposed, authors will see no
consequence when they don't have a <main> element. Only accessibility
developers will notice the lack of a <main> element and will create one, so
the situation will not be any better than with @role=main today: we won't
get more sites using it and we won't get better accessible main content on
Web pages.

If we want to get the general Web authors to become used to writing <main>,
it should have a consequence when they don't do it.

Regards,
Silvia.
Received on Sunday, 18 November 2012 10:21:01 UTC

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