hAccessibility – Unhappy First Birthday

It’s one year today since Bruce Lawson and James Craig published “hAccessibility“, about the misuse of the ‘abbr’ element in microformats (an issue I first raised on 20 September 2006 in Accessify Forums).

As recent events show, the microformats cabal still has its collective head up its own^W^W^W in the sand.

Despite suggestions for a workaround, a solution seems no nearer, thanks to their apparent indifference. Shame on them.


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8 Responses to “hAccessibility – Unhappy First Birthday”

  1. James Craig Says:

    Despite apathy from most and even hostile resistance from some of the Microformats community, we’re still making progress, however slowly. I’d encourage people that want to help to contact either me, Bruce, or Ben Ward.

  2. Toby Inkster Says:

    One workaround that I’ve found involves the intermingling of the existing lt;abbr> pattern and value excerpting rules. It works along these lines:

    <span class="dtstart">
    28 April 2008
    <abbr title="20080428" class="value" style="display:none"></abbr>

    It seems to work in many existing parsers (not all sadly) and I am yet to notice any apparent accessibility problems.

  3. pigsonthewing Says:

    @Toby: Try viewing that with CSS disabled. And doesn’t Operator ignore such “hidden” content?

  4. Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : hAccessibility, one year on Says:

    […] Andy Mabbett reminded me that it’s been a year since James Craig and I published hAccessibility— a look at the accessibility problems inherent in some unsemantic design patterns used in some microformats. […]

  5. Lee Jordan Says:

    I guess because many examples still use abbr, it’s going to be hard to break away from it. Still not too late to do something about it though.

    @Toby: My thought about that is HTML validation errors about trimming empty tags.

    I’m going down in a blaze of something anyway with this next one: Namespaces and the creation of a microformat:ns? That’s why it’s called xHTML? Anyway fire away! Why not have an option for xHTML developers to extend HTML properly?

  6. Andy Mabbett Says:

    @Lee: the longer we leave it, the more existing examples mis-using abbr there will be. A year has already been wasted.

    Also, don’t forget that microformats are used in HTML, not just XHTML.

  7. Andy Mabbett Says:

    On checking my archives for an unrelated discussion, I found today that I first raised issues with abbr-abuse on 24 April 2006, much earlier than I thought I had done so.

    The cabal was in denial, even then.

  8. Dates and coordinates in HTML5 « Mabblog Says:

    […] been a staunch and early critic of the accessibility problems caused by abusing the <abbr> element for things like […]

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