[uf-discuss] Re: Precise Expansion Patterns

Paul Wilkins pmw57 at xtra.co.nz
Sat Dec 15 20:28:10 PST 2007

On Dec 16, 2007 1:39 PM, Martin McEvoy <martin at weborganics.co.uk> wrote:
> <snip> my
> boss looks at my work and says "what are all these empty anchors
> about"... pause right there... any SEO worth his salt will know anchor
> text links that go nowhere, will A, reduce the quality of out going
> links from your site so reducing PR (Page Rank) and B, more than likley
> get you banned from google because it will think you are trying to spam
> it.... you know what my boss will say....you are sacked.

First an apology to Martin, my reply went direct to him when it should
have come to the group.

The A elements are not empty-anchors, and they are not text links that
go nowhere.
There is no text being linked, and there is no href, no name and no id
to anchor them to anything.
If they don't anchor to anything they can't be anchors, and are
perfectly valid from the HTML spec and
google perspective.

Regardless of that though, they don't have to be anchors. For the sake
of simplifying things they can just as easily be SPAN elements.

<span class="duration" title="PT2M23S">2:23</span>

With this it is not possible to prevent the title from being used by
screen readers and other people who hover their mouse over the time
value. The title is purely to provide machine readable information
that is not humanly presented.

If the title is to not to be presented as human readable information,
then the title must be wrapped around no text.

<span class="duration" title="PT2M23S"></span>2:23

It may even be possible to use a special class to designate that the
title has special meaning.

<span class="include-title duration" title="PT2M23S"></span>2:23

Remember, the HTML 4 specs are not designed for what we're trying to
do here. We are looking for how to provide computer understandable
information without interfering with the use of human readable text.

Another possible solution is to provide greater detail for the time itself.

<abbr title="00:23:00">2:23</abbr>

This I understand is an acceptable title for screen readers, it
expands suitably on 2:23 (which could be 2 hours 23 minutes or 2
minutes 23 seconds) and it's computer understandable in an ISO 8601

I will gratefully hear from anyone else who has an include pattern
where computer understandable information does not interfere with
human readable information.

Paul Wilkins

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