[Bug 8447] Tighter definition on the aside element


--- Comment #2 from Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>  2009-12-07 14:09:50 ---
(In reply to comment #1)
> > If the aside is equivalent to a printed sidebar, there should be no nav
> > elements, and shouldn't be referenced as a web page sidebar. This confuses the
> > semantics of the element, which decreases its value.
> It's intended to be used for anything that's "considered separate from the main
> content of the page".  That can often include navs, and certainly includes the
> majority of what you'd find in a web page sidebar.  Anything that, if removed,
> wouldn't change the meaning of the content is a candidate for wrapping in an
> aside.
> In other words, it's not directly equivalent to a printed sidebar, but is
> pretty well analogous.  You just don't often see navigation in sidebars in
> print; you do on the web.
> > In addition, no navigation should be embedded in an aside element--not if it is
> > to be used for pull quotes or typographical sidebars. Placing navigation in the
> > aside could lead to it being skipped by some user agents, who treat the
> > element's semantics seriously.
> That's precisely what we want.  I have to employ weird tricks to make it easy
> to skip over the navigation and sidebar content for keyboard and screen-reader
> users.  If jumping past these areas was a native ability, it would be much
> better for my users.  Note that "jumping past" is not the same as "ignoring
> completely forever"; you should always be able to read what's in an aside, it's
> just not directly relevant to the content in front of you.

A web sidebar is not the same as a typographical sidebar. It's unfortunate that
the term was used for the web, because sidebars in the web really are nothing
more than separate sections. Their use is specific to the web page, not the

Originally, the aside element had a clean semantic definition, where it was
that of a typographical sidebar. However, the HTML5 editor "listened" to
developers, and weakened the semantics of the element so it can supposedly be
used as a web page sidebar, or even pseudo-footer navigation[1]. Something that
can be used for a pull quote is not the same thing as something that can be
used for a web page sidebar. 

This was an error. It confuses the semantics of the element. It no longer is
equivalent to a typographical sidebar. It's really nothing more than an element
that represents "something that is no content". 

That's too loose, and not useful. And, unfortunately, such looseness will lead
to confusion about use, and aside will, most likely, end up being used

[1] http://html5doctor.com/aside-revisited/

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Received on Monday, 7 December 2009 14:09:59 UTC