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Re: <strong>/<em> instead of <b>/<i>

From: Paul Koenig <pdkoenig@variablearts.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002 14:44:08 -0800
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B8787138.8E9F%pdkoenig@variablearts.com>
on 1/25/02 2:32 PM, David Woolley at david@djwhome.demon.co.uk wrote:

>> Does the nesting create an even stronger emphasis than just the strong?
> Yes.  It has actually been argued that <strong> is redundant and
> confusing, and could better be represented as <em><em>....</em></em>.
>> If it was nested the other way, em within strong, would that make no
>> difference?
> Semantically it makes little difference.  However, in terms of style
> sheets, these are two different cases.  Also, some browsers don't even
> get the simple nesting right (I think there was a bug report on Amaya
> on this recently), and I don't think any have rules in their default
> style sheets, or hard coded equivalent, to cope with recursion of
> em or strong, although these are meaningful, even if difficult to render
> in speech.

I'd say there is a semantic difference in order of nesting and would
definitely NOT say that <strong> is equivalent to <em><em>. Any kind of
emphasis usually just tries to differentiate from surrounding text.

As an example I would use the LaTeX typesetting language which is strictly
nested like XML. There the emphasis command toggles slanted text so that an
emphasis command in the middle of an already emphasised passage would read
something like: italic upright italic. This is very understandable and
readable behavior. A user agent that had <em> set to toggle text slant would
render <em><em> .... </em></em> identically to the surrounding text.

Similarly, a user agent could render <strong> as a toggle to bolding text --
a greater visual differentiation than italics.

As for order of nesting <em> and <strong>,
"aaa <em>bbb <strong>ccc</strong> bbb</em> aaa"
implies there is greater differentiation and emphasis between bbb and ccc
than there is between aaa and bbb while
"aaa <strong>bbb <em>ccc</em> bbb</strong> aaa"
implies greater emphasis between aaa and bbb than between bbb and ccc.

Paul Koenig
Received on Saturday, 26 January 2002 17:44:12 UTC

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