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Re: HTML 5 Authoring Guidelines Proposal the use of the section element and its potential impact on screen reader users

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 22:48:24 +0000
Message-ID: <474C9EB8.70004@cfit.ie>
To: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>
CC: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, Terry Morris <lsnbluff@gmail.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

Hi Ben,

>but I'd love to use a truly generic element for a
> heading when that's what I want, rather than markup documents with the
> idea "oh, these <h1> elements ... they're generic headings, they
> don't, you know, *have* to be level 1 ..."

I am probably missing something here but can we not already do this with
HTML? The difference being that the cognitive load is on the author as
they have to think about *how* they structure content and apply the mark
up accordingly. Is this what you mean? Is it the case that a generic
element is a convenient mechanism for those authors who don't want to
*think* about how to structure content? If so, on one level I can
understand this.

For example users of AT can extract headings and learn about their
importance from the use of author applied h1 - h6 elements. However, in
many cases what is important to the user is that the heading *is* there
and not necessarily whether they have been correctly applied. So on one
level the use of a generic heading element could be good, as it may get
old school semantically shy authors actually using headings, and that is
a good thing.

However my worry about using generic elements is exactly  that the
inferred structure or the ability to infer structure could be lost. At
least having h1-h6 gave the author a ready made "semantic toolkit" using
a generic element takes that away IMO.

Josh
Received on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 22:48:46 UTC

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