W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-di@w3.org > September 2005

RE: Web page layouts in different cultures - question from DIWG

From: Addison Phillips <addison.phillips@quest.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2005 12:15:09 -0700
Message-ID: <FA13712B13469646A618BC95F7E1BA8F0A8140@alvmbxw01.prod.quest.corp>
To: "Richard Ishida" <ishida@w3.org>, "Rotan Hanrahan" <Rotan.Hanrahan@MobileAware.com>
Cc: "Felix Sasaki" <fsasaki@w3.org>, <www-di@w3.org>, <member-i18n-core@w3.org>

> Note also that I'm not so sure about "Generally one would not underline
> text".  When I worked on user interfaces with Fuji Xerox they did often
> underline text rather than bold or italicise it. Underlining ideographic
> text increases line height, since it runs below the characters, rather
> than
> through descenders.
Hmm... we're coming at this from different angles. On computer systems, the range of display options has been both historically limited and strongly influenced (or constrained) by Western traditions in textual display. It is quite common to choose underlining for emphasis in a CJK user interface because bold and italic interfere with legibility (especially on computer displays, what with digital bolding and italicization).

But I was thinking of comparing (for example) Japanese typesetting traditions with Western ones. A Japanese typesetter would tend to choose other means of forming emphasis--enclosing text in various ways, changing typeface or weight, and so on--before choosing to underline. That isn't to say that they never use underlines, only that it ranks lower, as far as I recall, in terms of emphasis formation.

A hyperlink, in any case, is blue and underlined... right? New media creates new expectations. The idea of vertically laid out (from right-to-left) Japanese web pages that use wakiten to indicate hyperlinks might be very elegant, but IMHO, rather unlikely (it would be a curiosity). [Rotan just fainted when I pointed out the RTL part of Asian vertical layout--which I'm not sure was pointed out previously--but I note that some browsers already support it... see: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dhtmltechcol/dndhtml/verticaltext.asp]

On the other hand, what I'm ultimately trying to say is: generally you can't say very many general things about languages and script systems. But we can do better about supporting the different collections of conventions than we have historically. It may not be possible or sensible to support everything (thank goodness boustrophedon is only represented by dead languages!), but certainly the situation can continue to improve.

Received on Saturday, 24 September 2005 19:15:33 UTC

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