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Re: less than normal importance/emphasis

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 02:34:49 +0100
Message-ID: <4949A8B9.50703@malform.no>
To: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>, Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.net>, "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>, www-html@w3.org, HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>

Jim Jewett 2008-12-17 23.47:
> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 5:21 PM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
>> On Tue, 15 Apr 2008, Mikko Rantalainen wrote:
>>> I'm still wondering if HTML5 should define an element for less than
>>> normal importance or emphasis.
>>>> On Thu, 3 Aug 2006, Jonathan Worent wrote:
>>> If I have a sentence where the less important part is in the middle of
>>> the sentence but the whole sentence is important, I would want to mark
>>> up the whole sentence as a single element.
> Agreed, but if the importance is decreased in the middle, than I think
> the (greatest) importance probably attaches to separate spans smaller
> than the full sentence.

To  de-emphasize something is to go from emphasizing something to 
speak normal and neutral about it. It does not mean to lower the 
importance to below average ... Eventually, I think we need a 
<neutral> element, rather than a <deemph> elment.

Today, we must do this:

	<p>You are so <em>mean</em> and, in fact,
	   very <em>dumb</em>, also.</p>

But with a <neutral> element, we could mark the phrase more 
naturally, like this:

	<p>You are so <em>mean <neutral>and, in fact,
	   very</neutral> dumb</em>, also.</p>

We cannot use <span> for this, as <span> is without semantics ... 
Hence it doesn't whetehr emphasize or "neutralize" anything.

With regard to what Ian mention about what he had or hadn't  seen 
in magazines: We have not seen <strong> or <em> in magazines, 
either. Nor have we seen <code> either, for that matter. But we 
have, in certain Word processors seen the "normal" button. I have 
in fact missed such a button in HTML now and then. And we have 
seen bold, italic etc. (See below.)

> I would go farther and say that if you do want to decrease emphasis,
> and parentheses are not sufficient, then you probably want to mark the
> de-emphasized part in some other way as well.  The most likely ways
> seem to be as <details>, as an <aside>, or whatever the convention for
> <footnote> ends up being.

Good thoughts. Such an element could have been called <insert>, 
for insteance.

	<p>He, <insert>as he walked home that day</insert>,
	fell in deep thoughts over the whole mark-up idea.</p>

<insert> would be a inline level sidenote. Whether people would 
want to style inserts differently from the context, would probably 
vary.  But don't we need more element for simply "normal" text? (I 
would say that this very different from footnotes, though.) (Btw, 
an <insert> and an <neutral> would not be quite the same thing, I 

Tina Holmboe once reminded us to, when it comes to <strong> and 
<em>, think about how we would speak the text. I think she 
primarely meant that we should use <em> because it can be heard by 
the screen reader user. And one important reason for having such a 
thing as <insert>, would be to be able to mark a tone shift in the 
text. Most often it cannot seen by (unless when it coincide with 
punctuation - of course) by seing, but it could be useful, I guss 
for people listening to the text.

Btw, related side note: Sometimes I have seen author tools which 
makes "strong" and "em" more prominent in the user interface of 
their authorware than "b" and "i". But I think that this is 
somewhat wrong. I think that authors, when they write, they think 
about cursive, italics, bold, neutral etc. The challenge is not to 
  unlearn to think think about italics, but rather to get authors 
to think "why do I want italic text".

Therefore, if I wrote an author tool, I would take the opposite 
approach. I would e.g. have one menu for italics, and under that 
menu, I give access to all the semantic element which are 
associated with italics. On top I would perhaps list <em>. At the 
bottom I would list <i>. In the middle I would list <dfn> and 
other elments. And similar for bold. I would also have one menu 
for "normal text", where I would place <span> at the bottom, and 
perhaps <insert> at top .. Well, I don't have all the details. :-)

Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Thursday, 18 December 2008 01:35:34 UTC

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