[whatwg] De-emphasis

David Latapie david at empyree.org
Fri Feb 9 09:19:08 PST 2007


On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 09:43:08 -0500, David Walbert wrote:
> There are three pieces of de-emphasized text here: one with 
> font-size: 80%, one with opacity: 0.8, and one with opacity: 0.6. I 
> know where the de-emphasized text is, so it's easy for me to find, 
> but the small-print and 60% opacity examples tend to draw my eye -- 
> the styling gives visual emphasis, in other words. The 80% opacity 
> example is so subtle that I might miss it or assume it was some kind 
> of browser/monitor error. (Were I not using my fancy Cinema Display I 
> probably would overlook it.)

- opacity 0.8: At first, I thought there was a glitch with my screen.

- opacity 0.8: I drew mmy attention like a semi-bolded would have

- small: It does not cope well inline. I (almost) never use small in a 
paragraph; I use it for one-liners, e.g. <small>source:</small> or 
<small>No this is a long post, right?</small>

> I'd propose, then, that inline visual de-emphasis may be impossible. 

// tangent topic: the importance of convention
I think de-emphasis as much to do with convention -- in the Western 
world, the convention is parenthesis. Same goes with small text: 
convention is that a small text shall be a whole paragraph, not a part 
of it, and almost always either at the top or (more often) at the end 
-- because of all of these legal disclaimers

It reminds me that in 19th century, Germans favoured blackletter 
characters over roman ones, finding them easier to read. The same goes 
for italics, that was first created to look more natural, easier to 
read... whereas this is quite the contrary today (try reading a whole 
italicised paragrah). Even today, Europeans favour serif while 
Americans prefer sans-serif (for body and on paper -- Americans, tell 
me if I'm wrong here).
// end tangent topic

> (I'd suspect the same for audio de-emphasis -- would the smart screen 
> reader whisper it? Wouldn't that, too, draw attention?)

"voice-stress:reduced" come to my mind. I'll come further by saying 
that, here, aural is better than screen (or projection, handheld...) 
since it always work, while the latter requires some conditions (block 
or inline). The original reason being, IMHO, that we do not do not say 
"parenthesis" (like we do not say "comma" - it holds true for all the 

So I'd say

- screen + block = font-size:80%
- screen + inline = parenthesis
- voice = voice-stress:reduced

What do you think?
</david_latapie>             U+0F00
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