Value Class Pattern

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 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 , , or , 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.

If and when you encounter any issues or have feedback regarding the value-class-pattern, please add them to the value-class-pattern-issues and value-class-pattern-feedback pages respectively.

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 microformat (and property of ) 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 abbr element 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 abbr element, dates, datetimes, , assistive technology, , 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.


3 Responses to “Value Class Pattern”

  1. Eric Meyer :

    Congratulations to all who worked so hard on this, and I’d also like to add my thanks to Tantek’s. In all honesty, I didn’t share the optimism held by some, and I’m more than glad to have my pessimism proven unfounded. Tantek, Ben, Bruce, James, Derek, and everyone else who put their time and effort and above all good faith into making this happen– thank you.

    May 12th, 2009 at 5:50 am

  2. portenkirchner's status on Tuesday, 12-May-09 19:08:46 UTC - :

    […] exciting microformats news: Value Class Pattern […]

    May 12th, 2009 at 11:08 am

  3. Site updated to Microformats Value Class Pattern — Tyssen Design :

    […] It may only be a very small amendment, but I’ve just updated the HTML of this site to bring it in line with the new Microformats Value Class Pattern which has just been released as an alpha draft. […]

    May 12th, 2009 at 3:15 pm