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Re: Bold vs Strong

From: Userite <richard@userite.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2018 10:52:01 +0100
Message-ID: <39EBC92752E64D1BAA630A12AD9B68CE@RichardPC>
To: "Vinil Peter" <vinilpeter.wcag@gmail.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Vinil,

Richard Ishida (W3C) wrote an article on this issue in 2010 (see https://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-b-and-i-tags ).

His quick answer was  as follows - “You should always bear in mind that the content of a b element may not always be bold, and that of an i element may not always be italic. The actual style is dependent on the CSS style definitions. You should also bear in mind that bold and italic may not be the preferred style for content in certain languages.
You should not use b and i tags if there is a more descriptive and relevant tag available. If you do use them, it is usually better to add class attributes that describe the intended meaning of the markup, so that you can distinguish one use from another. “

Furthermore the HTML5 specification states that “The b element represents a span of text to which attention is being drawn for utilitarian purposes without conveying any extra importance and with no implication of an alternate voice or mood”

As a result I believe that your client has a strong case for asking you to replace the <b> element with <strong> or <em> or <cite>.

Be very wary of anyone who claims that, because there is no specified failure criteria, they can use an element in a situation where it is not “best practice”. just because everyone else is doing it.

<b> enhances the visual effect, but <strong> enhances the meaning as well.

Richard Warren
Technical Manager
Website Auditing Ltd

From: Vinil Peter 
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2018 4:10 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org 
Subject: Bold vs Strong

Dear colleagues,

I have been asked to provide my thoughts on a debate on the use of bold <b> and strong <strong> for one of my clients. The client's internal accessibility testing team marked all the instances where <b> was used as errors and recommended to change them to <strong> so that screen readers read out the text with added emphasis. This has brought their quality and compliance scores down drastically. The client's developers are unhappy about this and claim that they should not be marked down as there is no clear guideline or fine print that mandates use of <strong> over <b>. Moreover, W3C has not deprecated <b> yet and it's usage is still permitted. <b> has been in use since ages and asking to replace all bold text with strong is like declaring that  use of <b> should be banned henceforth.

I am planning to give my recommendation to use <strong> in headers or functionality names etc. if the text is bold as per  design, while it is still fair to allow use of <b> for other bold text. The 'appropriate usage' of bold or strong is finally the designer's call as there is no clear guideline. 

Is my recommendation correct or am I missing something? What your thoughts and have you come across any such debate?


Vinil Peter, PMP
Received on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 09:53:22 UTC

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