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RE: Showing emphasis

From: Jon Hanna <jon@hackcraft.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 03:20:31 -0000
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050113032040.1C01D3AD98F6@postie2.hosting365.ie>

> Does anyone have any suggestions or opinions on how to accessibly show
> emphasis in an HTML document? Is using a * generally considered a best
> practice?  Are there good alternatives?

The practice of using asterisks is a *work-around* for the limitations on
some media. HTML does not have this limitation as it can use different
colours, weights and italicisation for printed material, different tones of
voice and timings, or even (if the output medium is plain-text) put the
asterisks in itself. HTMLs methods are superior both in terms of aesthetics
and also because they are less ambiguous and rely on conventions that are
better known (and which can be tweaked to deal with different cultural
conventions easily, e.g. for some cultures it would be appropriate to
increase the letter-spacing for emphasised words, in others it wouldn't).

It's therefore *bad practice* to use asterisks in this way in HTML,
similarly it's bad practice do use _pseudo italics_ or various kludges for
representing accents in US-ASCII (which vary according to the target
language), as HTML and Unicode respectively provide the correct means of
doing this.

Jon Hanna
Work: <http://www.selkieweb.com/>
Play: <http://www.hackcraft.net/>
Chat: <irc://irc.freenode.net/selkie>
Received on Thursday, 13 January 2005 03:20:47 UTC

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