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Re: Bug 8404 -- taking it to the lists

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 11:26:30 -0600
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0912010926k6365d86egd78188a95bb204dc@mail.gmail.com>
To: Nick Fitzsimons <nick@nickfitz.co.uk>
Cc: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 11:19 AM, Nick Fitzsimons <nick@nickfitz.co.uk> wrote:
> 2009/12/1 Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>:
>> On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 10:51 AM, Nick Fitzsimons <nick@nickfitz.co.uk> wrote:
>>> Even though a graphic
>>> designer specifies the same fonts and so forth for the captioning of
>>> both figures and tables, that doesn't make them semantically
>>> equivalent.
>> True, it's not an automatic equivalence.  It is, however, a strong
>> indication of such.  It also indicates that slicing the semantics any
>> thinner than that may be counterproductive - if designers aren't
>> currently making any effective distinction between them, what makes
>> you think they *want* to make such a distinction in HTML?  Styling is
>> often a *very* good indication of the granularity of classification
>> for the average person, and it's a mistake to go strongly against this
>> unless there are strong technical reasons for doing so.
> Why should the specification only consider what visual designers want
> or will use?

They shouldn't *only* consider such things.  But the needs of visual
designers are very important, because the majority of html authors
*are* visual designers, using visual wysiwyg tools to produce code.
If you have two or more elements with no visual distinction between
them, it becomes much more likely that they will be misused by novice
designers (and novices make up the majority of authors).

Even when, as today, a large proportion or even a majority of sites
are produced through professionally-designed templates, the actual
content area is still done by novices (and to be frank,
"professionally-designed templates" is no guarantee that the code is
good either).

> I can think of a number of scenarios where a granularity
> of classification much finer than that required for visual
> presentation is needed. Extracting data from HTML for incorporation in
> other resources, and meeting the needs of assistive technologies to
> present a summary of a document's structure, are two that spring
> immediately to mind.

Sure, in some cases it is indeed required.  In most cases it is not,
and one should always *endeavor* to make any distinctions obvious,
hopefully in a visual manner, to maximize the chances that they'll be
used correctly.

Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 17:27:14 UTC

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