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Re: The benefits of footnotes in webpages

From: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 08:48:46 +0930
Message-ID: <44F379D6.3080805@kbc.net.au>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Quoth Jesper Tverskov at 08/28/06 23:09...
> I have published an article, "The benefits of footnotes in webpages",
> http://www.smackthemouse.com/footnotes. It discusses a lot of accessibility
> issues.

Very interesting article - thanks for sharing, Jesper.

I have used a similar technique before, but have always used something like:
<a class="footnote" href="#foo" title="footnote1">[1]</a>
Using <sup></sup> gives me some cause for concern as, is this not,
presentational markup, taking us back to mixing content with presentation?

> Do you also agree that the title attribute is almost 99% bad from an
> accessibility point of view as implemented in today's browsers? That the
> browsers must come up with something better?

The non-availability of the title attribute when using the keyboard was
something of which I was unaware.  A glaring omission on the part of the
user agent developers.  (From a quick test, does not work in Firefox or
Konqueror, cannot even get keyboard access to work in Opera 9. Chaals?)

This has some fairly major implications with the amount of web log style
content creation, where a page is full of links - hopefully explained by
the title attribute.  (I have to confess that I have seen all too many
web logs where the target of a link can be discerned neither from
context nor from a provided title attribute.  I even did a patch for
WordPress some time ago to force this inclusion.)

Maybe we should adopt a "proper" writing style for blogging, with
footnotes at the bottom of posts.  I would rather things look too formal
than be meaningless...



Matthew Smith
IT Consultancy & Web Application Development
Received on Monday, 28 August 2006 23:19:06 UTC

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