W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-comments@w3.org > July 2009

Module Element for Secondary Blocks of Content

From: Seth Honeycutt <gwest39@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 21:52:34 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <592169.69261.qm@web51709.mail.re2.yahoo.com>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
Would it be possible to create a module
element (perhaps <module> or <mod>) to distinguish
secondary content that often appears in small blocks to the sides of
the main content. You already have the new elements <header>,
<footer>, <nav>, and <article> which describe the
type of content in the structure of the document more than just using
generic <div> containers. I am mostly concerned with this in
mobile web applications where, such as on a cell phone or PDA, you
could improve readability and navigation of a web page by being able
to jump directly to just the navigation for a page with the
<nav> element or go directly to the main content within a page
with <article> elements.

Many modern web pages have several
blocks of secondary content on the top, bottom, and sides of the main
content of the page. If you would use <article> elements for
these blocks of content there would be no way for a mobile browser to
distinguish these from the main content of the page. For example, you
could use <mod> to define content modules for site search, user
login, local weather, upcoming events, polls, shout box, etc. The
main content of the page would then be defined in <article>
elements for things like blog entries, a news article, or whatever
main content was requested by the URI. The side blocks of content
often do not relate directly to the main content requested, but more
to the website as a whole– many times appearing on every page of a site. Defining these blocks
of content differently would allow a mobile browser to differentiate
these from the main content of the page. A mobile browser could then
have a feature to list all of the modules on a page so you could
select and view each one separately. For example:

Mobile Browser Menu For Viewing a Page
1. Header
2. Navigation
3. Articles / Main Content
4. Modules
5. Footer

1. Site Search
2. User Login
3. Local Weather
4. Upcoming Events
5. Poll

The modules could be given titles by
either using the “title” attribute or using the first <h1>
or highest ranking heading element within a module.

<mod title=”Site Search”>


<h1>Local Weather</h1>

It would also maybe be helpful to
define a few different standard types of content modules that appear
frequently on most every website. This could be defined with the
“type” attribute. A few examples of these could be “search”
and “user.” A search module would be where a site search query is
submitted. A user module would be where a user logs in or out of a
website or views user links such as a shopping cart or credits left
in their account. This would allow a mobile user to jump quickly to a
standard module type such as search by using a common command in
their mobile web browser for all websites.

<mod type=”search” title=”Site

<mod type=”user”>
<h1>Log Into Your

Defining modules could also have other uses, such as with printing, where you could have an option in your web browser printing options to turn the modules off (along with maybe the header, footer, and navigation) and just print the main content of the page.

Thank you for considering a module
<mod> element or some other way to better define these 
secondary blocks of content in the structure of an HTML document for
better mobile web use and for improved accessibility with, for instance, those
who are blind and use a text-to-speech web browser.

Received on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 08:52:29 UTC

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