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Re: Isn't the word "banner" too presentational and none-semantic?

From: Michael Gower <michael.gower@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 11:32:06 -0700
To: Ian Yang <ian@invigoreight.com>
Cc: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF1581D26E.659A71A6-ON85257A46.006470B7-88257A46.0065D149@ca.ibm.com>
Hi Ian,
First, I agree with you that the term "banner" has connotations of position
which are unfortunate.
The root of the term -- and the practice of positioning something at the
top of the page is a throw back to the physical medium of newspapers, where
a folded paper on a newstand used that very finite piece of space to
distinguish itself from all the other papers at a newstand.
A website doesn't needs this distinction-- the info is in the page title
for one thing, and of course you got to the page yourself so one assumes
most of the time you know where you were going. There is no compelling
reason for using the top of the page for information that remains static
throughout a website. In fact it is a waste of the most important part of
the page. But like all newly adopted forms of communication, we mimic what
has come before.

Ironically, it is taking mobile to make a lot of designers rethink some of
these print-biased baggage we've brought along with us. But instead of
applying it as a principle of web design, I'm beginning to see many
designers distinguish between web and desktop design, instead of letting
the design respond gracefully to the platform.

All of this is to say it would have been better to term the section
"branding" or something functionally descriptive -- masthead, which someone
suggests also has positioning connotations -- but I think the end result of
the banner region is that it allows designation of a page region which has
historically been an impediment to navigation for many users. It is a much
better solution that "skip to main".

Perhaps in ARIA 2, we will collectively have realized the value of giving
function designations to all landmarks (another term I object to -- why not
just use 'region' or a variant) and banner will be transformed.

Michael Gower
i b m  i n t e r a c t i v e

1803 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC  V8T 5C3
voice: (250) 220-1146 * cel: (250) 661-0098 *  fax: (250) 220-8034

From:	Ian Yang <ian@invigoreight.com>
To:	Joe Chidzik <joe.chidzik@abilitynet.org.uk>
Cc:	"w3c-wai-ig@w3.org list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date:	2012-07-25 05:16 AM
Subject:	Re: Isn't the word "banner" too presentational and

On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 6:04 PM, Joe Chidzik <joe.chidzik@abilitynet.org.uk
> wrote:
  >Comparing with the role "contentinfo" which is meaningfully named, why
  was the inventor wanted to name the site header "banner" instead of a
  more meaningful name like "contenthead" or "masthead"?

  [Joe Chidzik]
  >From Merriam-Webster, I get the following two definitions of banner
  which seem relevant:
  2: a headline in large type running across a newspaper page
  3: a strip of cloth on which a sign is painted <welcome banners stretched
  across the street>
  (Ref: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/banner)

  3 makes sense; the banner is the entrance to the website\page which you
  typically read before any other content.


But the word "banner" is still describing the object's shape, not its
meaning and use. (try comparing it with "contentinfo") And a banner ad is
referred to banner, too.

Ian Yang
Received on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:47:49 UTC

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