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Visible MetaData == "Visible to whom?" was Re: Design Principles

From: T.V Raman <raman@google.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 09:06:52 -0700
Message-ID: <17931.58396.790586.120736@retriever.corp.google.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

I typed this up as part of  a private response to someone on this list,
but thought  this piece was useful for a broader audience.

When using terms like "visible" it's important to remember
"visible to whom?".

As an example, consider the "nofollow" attribute on the <a>

Earlier messages in this thread asserted that "visible metadata"
was better than "invisible metadata" and used the link vs a
analogy to  arrive at a somewhat spurious conclusion
that all "invisible" metadata was unreliable or somehow less
desirable than "visible" metadata. 

I believe the bug there is the failure to ask "visible to whom?"
the following is important:

A)  The metadata needs to be "visible" to the intended target.
B0- The metadata needs to be "invisible" to those it's not
intended for.

Thus, the  nofollow attribute on  element <a> is visible to
search engines --- its intended audience -- and by remaining
invisible to the human user gets immediate traction; it has no
negative effect on presentation.

Similarly, multiple link elements in the head element are better
than turning each into a "human visible" anchor --- 
this allows the browser to fetch the  version best suited to the
user e.g. language variant, without having to show a large number
of "human visible" links at the top of the page that take you to
all the available language versions.

Best Regards,

Title:  Research Scientist      
Email:  raman@google.com
WWW:    http://emacspeak.sf.net/raman/
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GTalk:  raman@google.com, tv.raman.tv@gmail.com
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Received on Thursday, 29 March 2007 16:07:09 GMT

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