[whatwg] Web Forms 2.0 Feedback

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Fri Jan 7 02:17:02 PST 2005

On 7 Jan, 2005, at 5:58 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> ...
> For <sub>, the ideal aural rendering depends on the context, but humans
> are adept at interpreting things based on context and you could 
> probably get away with rendering sub by simply prefixing its contents 
> with the syllable "sub", as in "H sub-two O" for "H<sub>2</sub>O".
> ...
> the fact that you can use the element to sensibly change the aural 
> rendering suggests to be that it is semantic enough to be kept in 

Except that "sub" is merely (an abbreviation of) a description of the 
typographical presentation! You might just as well say that H<font 
color="green">2</font>O is semantic because it could be pronounced as 
"H green-two O".

> ...
> It's not ideal,  and for a better aural rendering you would use a 
> speech-capable UA that supported ChemML, MathML, or another more 
> appropriate standard language natively, and pass content to it using 
> the appropriate domain-specific language.

FWIW, in the case of ChemML that wouldn't help -- as far as I know 
(having just consulted the household science teacher), there is no 
standard way of pronouncing chemical formulas so as to distinguish 
subscripts even from normal numbers. So using aural rendering to decide 
whether an element is semantic wouldn't work in that case.

Matthew Thomas

More information about the whatwg mailing list