The value-class-pattern solves two of the three most challenging issues that microformats have encountered in their entire history: accessibility and localization.
After many long months of focused iterating (repeatedly researching, brainstorming, testing, documenting) led by Ben Ward, the value-class-pattern alpha draft is ready to use and support.
Publish and implement
Several publishers have already started using the value-class-pattern, including this blog, and some implementations have already started supporting it as well.
Everyone who publishes content marked up with microformats or develops microformats implementations such as parsers and authoring tools should take a close look at supporting the value-class-pattern in the content they are publishing and the tools they are implementing. In particular:
- If your implementation parses hCalendar, hReview, or hAtom, please implement the value-class-pattern in your parser, test it with the examples given both in the spec and the growing list of value-class-pattern examples in the wild, and add it to the list of value-class-pattern implementations.
- If your site publishes hCalendar, hReview, or hAtom, please use the value-class-pattern for your dates and times, and add your site to the growing list of value-class-pattern examples in the wild.
- If your implementation generates hCalendar, hReview, or hAtom, please generate your dates and times marked up with the value-class-pattern, and add your implementation to the list of value-class-pattern implementations.
Major resolutions and minor revisions
The value-class-pattern has greatly addressed accessibility and authoring issues across several microformats, in particular for typical uses of dates and times. However, there are still a few open issues on specific microformats for which we are still exploring better (more semantic, more accessible) solutions, in particular the geo microformat (and property of hCard) when specified as a single hyperlink or abbreviation, and hCalendar’s
dtend property when specifying a whole date (rather than a specific datetime).
With the value-class-pattern providing solutions to two out of the three biggest microformats challenges (the last of the three to be addressed in its own blog post), and resolutions to the remaining substantial open issues (e.g. as mentioned) on hCard, hCalendar, hReview, and hAtom, we will work on 1.0.1 revisions that:
- incorporate said resolved substantial issues to date
- require support of the value-class-pattern
- are edited for broader understandability and usability.
The editors of all drafts, in development, and future compound microformats should also require support of the value-class-pattern in order to encourage better accessibility in content that is marked up with microformats.
Thanks to those in the broader accessibility and internationalization communities that have kept up with their constructive criticisms, suggestions, test cases, testing, test results documentation, feedback, and overall participation. Your efforts have contributed to major improvements in microformats, and we could not have done it without you and your expertise. In particular:
- The original Web Standards Project article hAccessibility by Bruce Lawson and James Craig which provided both detailed documentation of real world concrete problems that were/are being experienced due to some uses of the
abbrelement with microformats, as well as several ideas for alternatives to explore. Many of those ideas formed the basis for what the microformats community spent many months investigating in depth, testing, iterating, evolving and eventually narrowing down and refining into what made it into the value-class-pattern (e.g. value-title in particular).
- Everyone who has contributed documentation of patterns, issues, brainstorms, opinions regarding the
abbrelement, dates, datetimes, accessibility, assistive technology, internationalization/localization, etc. to the microformats wiki. All these additions to our broader body of knowledge helped shape and refine the value-class-pattern you see today.
- In particular I want to thank James Craig for the many hours he spent extensively testing and documenting of several alternatives with screen readers.
- Personally I have very much appreciated Derek Featherstone‘s optimism regarding microformats and accessibility, consistent in-person encouragement to me and others to keep working at it, and continued positive reminding to keep in mind the broader community of those that use the Web.
- Finally, thanks to all of the authors, designers, and developers supporting microformats, especially those who continued to do so when well aware of accessiblity and other open issues, for their patience and for never giving up.