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Re: For review: Using <b> and <i> tags

From: ejp10 <ejp10@psu.edu>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 14:47:35 -0400
Message-Id: <584A13EB-5662-4645-BF3A-EF4B122EE081@psu.edu>
To: www-international@w3.org
Something I would add would be a list of other tags that could be used in place of B and I such as CITE, ADDRESS,TIME,VAR I might also add/link to an example of styling B/I with for different semantic purposes.

I think people know about STRONG and EM, but really think they are the "proper" way to implement bold/italic formatting and rarely understand or take advantage of the semantic value. Just telling people to switch does not, in fact, help them understand presentation vs semantics (the Japanese example does it much more effectively).

For the record, I don't necessarily think B/I is a bad choice or a lazy choice - just a choice to be made and can be very handy in the Latin script. I agree that it's better to use a semantic tag if an appropriate one exists, and to add CSS classes if you know you will be using for specific purposes (e.g. a corporate name).

One issue to consider is that the STRONG/EM tag trigger a different voice by default in screen readers but B/I does not (or is not supposed to). In principle switching voices sounds like a good idea, but users of screen readers can find it distracting. 

So one interpretation is that STRONG should be very, very strong emphasis (the kind with red text) and should be used sparingly. I have actually used B vs STRONG with different stylings to indicate visual formatting versus "seriously, pay attention".

Another issue is that if presentational B/I is replaced by SPAN w/ CSS, then that information could be lost of a user disables CSS or switches to an alternate stylesheet. That's not always good either.

Hope this is useful input

Elizabeth Pyatt

FWIW - I wish there was a semantic tag for foreign language content which is rendered as italics in many English document, but could be rendered as something else in another script. But there isn't so I am using the <i lang="xx"> tag which uses far fewer bytes than <span class="fl" lang="xx">. 

On Jul 1, 2010, at 12:09 PM, Aharon (Vladimir) Lanin wrote:

> Looks good to me. Short and sweet.
> Aharon
> On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 6:52 PM, Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org> wrote:
> http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-b-and-i-tags
> Comments are being sought on the article Using <b> and <i> tags prior to final release. Please send any comments to www-international@w3.org  (subscribe). We hope to publish a final version in one week.
> RI
> ============
> Richard Ishida
> Internationalization Lead
> W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
> http://www.w3.org/International/
> http://rishida.net/

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Education Technology Services, TLT/ITS
Penn State University
ejp10@psu.edu, (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building  (formerly Rider II)
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Received on Thursday, 1 July 2010 18:48:06 UTC

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