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RE: Abbreviations and Acronyms: [techs] Latest HTML Techniques Draft

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 12:46:32 +0200 (EET)
To: www-html@w3.org
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0312121239030.27009@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Fri, 12 Dec 2003, John Colby wrote:

> Despite all the semantics

I thought the discussion is primarily about meaning. If you wish to
discuss _wordings_, you may call meanings "all the semantics".

> it really does make a difference to this
> argument that IE does not recognise and treat correctly <abbr> but does
> recognise and treat correctly <acronym>.

It makes no difference whatsoever as regards to discussing the design
of XHTML 2, except perhaps in the sense that IE's behavior is a mild
argument against calling anything <acronym> in XHTML 2, to avoid
misleading authors who may have adopted bad habits.

Regarding accessibility, all this abbr and acronym stuff is best
forgotten until the specifications have been cleared up. It actually works
_against_ accessibility to tell authors to use such markup, especially
when it is (as it is in WCAG 1.0) presented as something to be done
_instead of_ adequate explanation of unusual expressions (whether acronyms
or mythonyms or whatever) in normal, readable content.

> So the pragmatic approach would be to use <acronym> for both acronyms
> and abbreviations for all documents, although it is not semantically
> correct,

No, the pragmatic approach, assuming you want to get that tooltip effect,
is to use <span>. It tells no lies and nothing obscure about the meaning
of the element, because it says absolutely nothing about that - well,
except perhaps indirectly by saying that no other HTML markup would apply,
but this seems to be the case here, since <abbr> and <acronym> are far too
vaguely defined.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Friday, 12 December 2003 05:46:34 GMT

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