[uf-discuss] Hidden Locality/Country?

kalisti kalisti at kalisti.com
Tue May 22 02:35:41 PDT 2007


This is my first message to the microformats list; I'm very interested in implementing microformats in a new site I am building, but am having some difficulties figuring out a best practice for something that is coming up.

The site I am building is essentially an aggregator for local businesses, with reviews, directions, hours, descriptions, events, and Google Map implementation. As such, it seems perfect as a testing ground for me to play with microformats, and microformats seem perfect to add a bit more functionality to the site down the road.

The issue I'm having right now is finding a balance between keeping my site optimized for human reading, and also making it as semantically robust as possible for machines. The specific issue is that since every business on the site is found within our county, it makes no sense to include either locality (California) or country-name (US) in the address information for the reader to see. This simply takes up space without adding any information -- the site is manifestly about businesses based in California, which is therefore in the US.

Now, the spec seems to say I can omit this information if I choose to. At the same time, it seems like omitting this information would result in a less robust experience for anyone getting the information down the line via an aggregator -- humans visiting the site will know it is in California and in the US, but machines will not, and therefore humans who see the businesses listed anywhere other than our site won't know what state they're in.

Obviously I could just include the information, even though it serves no function for the human readers of the site. But I am reluctant to add redundant information that serves no function to human readers -- part of the draw of u-formats for me is the ability to have added semantic information without compromising my end-user experience.

The code at the end of this email is how I would envision solving this problem, by having essentially "empty" fields. But my question is: what is the general feeling towards having empty fields for this information? Obviously search engines would be likely to ignore this meta-data (since it could easily be faked), but that's not a concern of mine. Are there other valid reasons I should avoid this? Is there a best-practice that I should follow? Preferably one that doesn't force me to rewrite chunks of contact information in a way that detracts from user experience just to fulfill the machine end? 

Thank you all so much for your work on this project, and I look forward to spending a great deal of time playing with these beautiful things.

~~Brendan McGuigan

<div class="vcard">
  <div class="fn org">Test Local Business</div>
  <div class="adr">
    <div class="street-address">400 Main St.</div>
      <span class="locality">Mendocino</span>, 
      <abbr class="region" title="California"></abbr> <span class="postal-code">95460</span> <abbr class="country-name" title="USA"></abbr>
  <div>Phone: <span class="tel">707-937-0000</span></div>
  <div>Email: <span class="email">somewhere at somewhere.com</span></div>

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