[uf-discuss] FYI: Microformats, accessibility, RDFa and Massachusetts

David Janes davidjanes at blogmatrix.com
Sun Mar 9 04:46:43 PST 2008

[All text below from the posts, not from me]


Part of my job is investigating new technologies that we might want or
need to support on the Mass.Gov portal. A colleague brought
microformats to my attention a year or so ago. Although I found it
alluring—re-using standard markup to provide richer content—there were
troubling accessibility issues.

[...] The abbr design pattern is also used by some to provide
translations. Unless someone wants to declare that there is a One True
Language, this is not only problematic for people using AT, it not
semantically defensible.

[...] There has been resistance from the microformats community to
addressing these conflicts. This is dismaying since one their basic
tenets is to give precedence to use "in the wild" and this is how AT
products actually behave. There was a big hullaballoo about this in
May 2007, but there has been no change since then. This leads me to
believe that the microformats folks just do not care about
accessibility to the extent that I need to.

If Massachusetts pursues enriching our content, RDFa seems a more
likely candidate. We prefer to adopt things that have been created and
promulgated by standards bodies: they are more stable, the
deliberative process surfaces and resolves problems beforehand, and
are the only reliable basis for interoperability.


Standards by general consensus rarely works out. For instance, the
HTML5 working group has 504 members. How the heck can you get anything
accomplished when you have 504 members?

David Janes
Founder, BlogMatrix

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