b element represents a span of text to which attention is being drawn for utilitarian purposes without conveying any extra importance and with no implication of an alternate voice or mood, such as key words in a document abstract, product names in a review, actionable words in interactive text-driven software, or an article lede.
The following example shows a use of the
b element to highlight key words without marking them up as important:
<p>The <b>frobonitor</b> and <b>barbinator</b> components are fried.</p>
In the following example, objects in a text adventure are highlighted as being special by use of the
<p>You enter a small room. Your <b>sword</b> glows brighter. A <b>rat</b> scurries past the corner wall.</p>
Another case where the
b element is appropriate is in marking up the lede (or lead) sentence or paragraph. The following example shows how a BBC article about kittens adopting a rabbit as their own could be marked up:
<article> <h2>Kittens 'adopted' by pet rabbit</h2> <p><b class="lede">Six abandoned kittens have found an unexpected new mother figure — a pet rabbit.</b></p> <p>Veterinary nurse Melanie Humble took the three-week-old kittens to her Aberdeen home.</p> [...]
As with the
i element, authors can use the
class attribute on the
b element to identify why the element is being used, so that if the style of a particular use is to be changed at a later date, the author doesn't have to go through annotating each use.
b element should be used as a last resort when no other element is more appropriate. In particular, headings should use the
h6 elements, stress emphasis should use the
em element, importance should be denoted with the
strong element, and text marked or highlighted should use the
The following would be incorrect usage:
<p><b>WARNING!</b> Do not frob the barbinator!</p>
Style sheets can be used to format
b elements, just like any other element can be restyled. Thus, it is not the case that content in
b elements will necessarily be boldened.