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Re: HTML5 DL Element vs. WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria

From: Olaf Drümmer <olaf@druemmer.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2014 12:06:35 +0100
Cc: Olaf Drümmer <olaf@druemmer.com>
Message-Id: <06ADA4A5-57E0-48CC-B9FC-B465A6EB469F@druemmer.com>
To: Jan Heck <jan@id4theweb.com>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Jan,

can you point me to some real world content that uses definition lists?

I have yet to run into them (and I kept looking for them for a while after I was made aware they exist, and I haven't found any in real world content, as opposed to examples put together for demonstration).

My criticism still holds though, as I honestly believe definition lists have been invented for a very special use case. If I look on the web for example at online dictionaries (I use dict.leo.org a lot),  definition lists would bot cut it - the structure presented is richer than can be easily accommodated using definition lists. Also the leading German dictionary site duden.de does not use this structure. 

Furthermore, if I look at various online resources like http://www.abbreviations.com/ none of them seems to be using definition lists anywhere, most of them use tables, partly probably because they can organise additional bits and pieces more easily, and to be honest, in a fashion that is more useful to users (with and without disabilities).

So where are those websites or documents that use definition lists?

What authoring tools exist that allow you to create definition lists?



PS: Why is a page like 
	HTML 4.01, Index of Elements 
using a table, not a definition list?

Same for:
	XHTML 2, J. List of Attributes

and here an unordered list is used:
	HTML: The Markup Language (an HTML language reference), 5. HTML elements organized by function

OK, now I found an example for definition lists are used:
	HTML: The Markup Language (an HTML language reference), 2. Terminology
and it makes use of another tag I have just now knowingly seen for the first time - the dfn tag. I have difficulty seeing why I need another tag called  dfn inside a dt  tag, if the meaning of dt is definition term and the meaning of dfn is definition term? In all politeness, but this looks like a big mess to me.

On 8 Feb 2014, at 05:29, Jan Heck <jan@id4theweb.com> wrote:

> I don't know, Olaf. In the instructional/educational environment, we use
> definition lists a lot to present glossaries of terms, Q&As (which are
> essentially the same thing), or other paired items. I really don't think
> an ordered or unordered list meets the same need or matches the semantics
> nearly as well, so I can't agree that nobody needs DLs.
> The issue of the failure of AT to support DLs is one I'm struggling with
> now, in light of this thread. I'm quite torn between the the argument to
> use the correct semantic element versus the argument that presently,
> screen readers don't "deliver the goods" re: DLs. I always try to make my
> instructional sites both accessible AND semantically correct, and I never
> heard (before this discussion) that there was an issue with DLs. So I
> would hope that by filing bugs with various AT vendors, they respond
> appropriately, but as others have said, who knows?
> On 2/7/14 1:15 PM, "Olaf Drümmer" <olaf@druemmer.com> wrote:
>> I guess if a survey was made among people coding for or developing
>> content in HTML, over 90% of them would not be familiar with the concept
>> of "definition lists". I am still struggling myself to think of use cases
>> in any of the content I have been in charge of during the last twenty
>> years where definition lists would have made any sense, or even provided
>> added (semantic) value.
>> Definition lists look like somebody thought a while ago that special case
>> handling was necessary for this special type of list, and introduced the
>> definition list tags. In essence though, nobody needs definition lists.
Received on Saturday, 8 February 2014 11:06:58 UTC

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