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Re: Cleaning House

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 01:16:48 +0100
Message-ID: <463E6FF0.6050404@googlemail.com>
To: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
CC: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

James Graham wrote:

> So... I think it's true to say that neither <em> or <i> is likely to 
> provide rich enough information for more than the simplest machine 
> reasoning-type tasks.

I'm not sure. A lot of markup is misused but still proves useful (e.g. 
headings, blockquote). Gregory seems to be making use of the em/i 
distinction.

> Therefore the primary difference seems to be their default 
> presentations in various interactive UAs. I believe the common defaults 
> on various media are:
> 
> <em>
> Visual (graphical): Italic
> Visual (non-graphical): Change of colour e.g. reverse video
> Tactile: Italic
> Aural: Verbal stress
> 
> <i>
> Visual (graphical): Italic
> Visual (non-graphical): Change of colour e.g. reverse video
> Tactile: Italic(?)
> Aural: Normal(?)

As far as I can gather, this is wrong. AT that stresses <em> also 
typically stresses <i>, e.g. Raman's message earlier and:

http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message.php?id=10072

But some testing could confirm this.

> If so, this suggests:
> 
> a) This debate is largely a storm in a teacup

Agreed. There is an accessibility problem here (both with inappropriate 
verbal stress and with inappropriate italics in braille), but there are 
bigger accessibility fish to fry.

> b) A good way of defining when <i> should be used and when <em> should 
> be used might reference situations in which verbal stress should be 
> applied.

This won't work for the reason given above. Alternatively, we could 
create new <stress> and <different> elements and have another swirl 
around the teacup in 10 years time. ;)

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Monday, 7 May 2007 00:17:01 GMT

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