W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2018

Re: Bold vs Strong

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2018 09:16:59 -0500
To: Duff Johnson <duff@duff-johnson.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <OF06ACC238.543B2EE5-ON862582E2.004D4AED-862582E2.004E768B@notes.na.collabserv.com>
Duff said: 
Substituting <strong> for <b> or <i> would just.. blow all this up, and 
make such documents far harder - in principle -  for AT users to read, no?
Here?s a (slightly hacked for effect) example:

"If IT is present and its value is not Stamp, it's Name shall not be 
present. "

I am not and I do not think others are suggesting substituting bold with 
italics ,
        <b> for <i>, or
        <strong>> for <em>

so even in your hacked example, the distinction remains substituting <b> 
for <strong> and <i> for <em>. 
The accessibility issue, meaning success criteria, is more about semantic 
equivalence, not visual presentation equivalence.  In other words, there 
is not requirement that all headings look visually the same, for example, 
just that one use the semantic heading <h1> element to identify the 
heading that the author intended to be identified by the reader as is in 
fact a heading without reference to the visual rendering alone. 
Phill Jenkins
Senior Engineer & Accessibility Executive
IBM Research Accessibility

From:   Duff Johnson <duff@duff-johnson.com>
To:     w3c-wai-ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date:   08/07/2018 08:30 AM
Subject:        Re: Bold vs Strong

There?s an aspect that I?ve not seen covered in the discussion so far on 
this point.

There are many use cases (especially in STEM publications) in which 
italics and bold have specific uses that are announced in the document.

For example, italics may be used to indicate values. Bold may be used to 
indicate dictionary key names.

Discerning the meaning of the content without reference to bold and 
italics usage in such cases could lead to confusion. Here?s a (slightly 
hacked for effect) example:

"If IT is present and its value is not Stamp, it's Name shall not be 
present. "

Substituting <strong> for <b> or <i> would just.. blow all this up, and 
make such documents far harder - in principle -  for AT users to read, no?


On Aug 7, 2018, at 05:52, Userite <richard@userite.com> wrote:

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 

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 14:18:42 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:37:20 UTC