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Re: current definition of <figure> in HTML is problematic

From: Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:51:03 -0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.wrmozdcqh8on37@bruce-pc>
On Thu, 24 Jan 2013 20:21:38 -0000, Michael[tm] Smith <mike@w3.org> wrote:

> Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, 2013-01-24 09:44 +0000:
>
>> I think the current definition [4] of  the figure element leads to
>> developers thinking that they cannot use it to caption an image or  
>> images
>> that are ket parts of the content:
>>
>> "The element can thus be used to annotate illustrations, diagrams,  
>> photos,
>> code listings, etc, that are referred to from the main content of the
>> document, but that could, without affecting the flow of the document, be
>> moved away from that primary content, e.g. to the side of the page, to
>> dedicated pages, or to an appendix."
>
> I agree that statement seems to be confusing people, and so maybe some
> language should be added around there to make it more clear that the  
> figure
> element is not necessarily restricted to being used only for the purpose
> described there.

I agree. Perhaps changing ""The element can thus be used to annotate  
illustrations .. " to "The element may also be used .." thereby  
emphasising that it's a different use ("also").

Mike Smith said:

> to anybody who's
> taken time to get familiar with the editorial style the spec consistently
> uses, it would be clear that sentence states no normative requirements.
>
> For context about what I mean, it's worth also quoting what the spec says
> just before that statement you quote above. What it says is:
>
>   The figure element represents some flow content, optionally with a
>   caption, that is self-contained and is typically referenced as a single
>   unit from the main flow of the document.
>
> As far as I can see, that sentence is the only statement in the spec that
> normatively defines the meaning of the figure element.

[snip]

> The spec very consistently uses a particular style to clearly distinguish
> between parts that are normative and parts that are just informative or
> illustrative.

I'm not convinced that it's at all clear. It currently hangs on  
understanding the word "can" in "can thus.." means possibility rather than  
requirement, and a deeper familiarity with the style of the spec than most  
web developers can be expected to have.

I suggest that normative statements be visually stronger, and sylistically  
differentiated from non-normative glosses. Perhaps if the normative  
statement "The figure element represents some flow content, optionally  
with a caption, that is self-contained and is typically referenced as a  
single unit from the main flow of the document." were surrounded by  
<strong>, in a div class="normative" that is styled to be  surrounded by a  
box, it would indicate its importance more?

bruce

-- 


Bruce Lawson
Open standards evangelist
Developer Relations Team
Opera

http://dev.opera.com
Received on Monday, 28 January 2013 15:51:39 GMT

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