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Re: <i>, <em> and font-style:italic in HTML 5

From: Thomas Birch <thomas_birch@ieci.es>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2013 11:16:51 +0200
To: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Cc: davebest@cogeco.ca, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFECEF6948.3846A778-ONC1257C0E.0031E327-C1257C0E.0032FB8C@ieci.es>

I have a follow-up question related with the use of the <i> tag. When 
testing a web site's accessibility, we found an extensive use of the <i> 
tag in conjunction with icons, such as:

<i class="icon-right-default icon-white"></i>

We raised an issue because we consider this use of the tag doesn't meet 
the defined semantics, but we were replied that this use of the tag is 
common practice, and that popular libraries such as Twitter Bootstrap use 
the i tag for this purpose and it has no affect on accessibility.

Should this use of the tag be considered incorrect, or will the semantics 
of the tag eventually evolve to include this common use?

Thank you very much for your time. Regards,

Re: <i>, <em> and font-style:italic in HTML 5

Ramón Corominas 
04/10/2013 23:19


Just a clarification... I'm not saying that these features shouldn't be 
used, what I'm saying is that they must be used properly.

In fact, they are the right way to mark up semantics in HTML documents, 
but I think it is good to know how most screen readers manage these 

Of course, screen reader users can enable different pronunciation for 
these tags (it is curious that they usually use a lower voice), and this 
changes can be very important under certain situations.

However, marking a lot of <strong> or <em> can lead to more confusion or 
interference, instead of conveying valuable information. And this is 
something that affects everyone, not only screen reader users. If a 
paragraph has a lot of words marked with <strong>, it is not conveying 
what is important and what is not.


David wrote:

> For the most part these text display options are not used by screen 
reader users, but that does not mean these indicators should not be used. 
Depending upon the screen reader user agent, it is possible to set these 
options for speech and for braille output. A blind user in a professional 
environment quite often needs to know, just as the sighted user, the 
change in text colour and highlighting. In this case the screen reader 
user will create multiple speech themes, and switch between them as 
needed. Just because most screen reader users do not depend upon the text 
display changes, does not mean that it is not used and not needed. Without 
this ability you are limiting the career development of blind 

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Received on Thursday, 24 October 2013 09:17:42 UTC

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