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Re: Underline element.

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 20:35:33 +0000
Message-ID: <47755E15.2070402@splintered.co.uk>
To: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>

Ben 'Cerbera' Millard wrote:

> An alternative is <span class>. The smallest possible example of that:
> [[[
> <span class="u">foo</span>
> ]]]
> This uses 23 bytes of markup. <font class> would be identical. The <u> 
> version would use 70% less markup each time.

Is the goal semantic clarity or brevity here?

> Legal text citations are an example of this. Authors are already 
> recommended to use <u> for this, for example:

The advice is for printed matter, and/or based on old HTML practices 
concerned with presentation, rather than semantics. The question really 
is: if there was a more semantically accurate element, should that be 
used, and then css be used on top of that to make it match the old print 
conventions? If css is not available, and the visual presentation 
doesn't match a particular "house style", does it remove meaning from 
the content?

> Example of a WYSIWYG user applying underline to a hyperlink (search for 
> "The UCL Practitioner"):
> <http://3lepiphany.typepad.com/3l_epiphany/2006/04/cases_citing_le.html>

Not quite sure what you're getting at here...it's links, with normally 
applied underlines, unless I'm missing something?
Also, speaking of WYSIWYG: maybe it's because the editor doesn't offer 
semantically appropriate options, and a user has to resort to visual 
options to denote things instead?

> Elsewhere, italic is applied to each side of the " v. " part using <em>:
> <http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/casefinder/casefinder_1984-present.html> 

Possibly an erroneous use of <em>. Possibly the result of a user wanting 
to cite those names, not having a cite option / having a house style 
that prescribes italics for citation, and using a WYSIWYG editor which 
maps italics to <em> regardless of actual author intent.

> An example of hightlighting parts of speech using underline:
> <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm#predicates>

The underline here is used for emphasis, so an appropriately styled <em> 
would be best?

> This is a common practice amongst school teachers on blackboards and in 
> students' work books.

Possibly because, when writing on blackboards, teachers can't easily use 
bold or italics, or mark up the underlying words unequivocally in any 
other way than the visual one - and in that situation, underline is the 
easiest to do on a blackboard? As for student workbooks, again it's an 
emphasis, but following a different presentational style. The meaning 
wouldn't change if it were presented differently (bold or italic), as 
long as it was clear that an emphasis / distinction to surrounding text 
is taking place.

> * Google already does <b> on its result page.

But arguably it should be using <strong>.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
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Received on Friday, 28 December 2007 20:35:56 UTC

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