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Correct use of aside element

Hi all,

My name is Willem-Siebe and I hope I found the right place here to have some good discussions about the correct use of HTML5. I’m not sure if I should use one of the three mailinglists or write a post like I do now, please tell me for the next time ;-).

My problem: a typical website design can have a right-sidebar area. Can I use the <aside> element for this?

When I read about the <aside> element here:

The element can be used for typographical effects like pull quotes or sidebars

On this page W3C discusses a typical website structure:

This example has two sidebars, one sidebar is wrapped in an <aside> element, with this explenation:

you may have noticed that we used an <aside> element to markup the 2nd sidebar: the one containing latest gigs and contact details. This is perfectly appropriate, as <aside> is for marking up pieces of information that are related to the main flow, but don’t fit in to it directly. And the main content in this case is all about the band!

Other good choices for an <aside> would be information about the author of the blog post(s), a band biography, or a band discography with links to buy their albums.

However, for the left-sidebar, they don’t use a <aside> element, with this explenation:

  • “sidebar1” contains various useful links that will persist on every page of the site, such as “subscribe to RSS” and “Buy music from store”.

In the first explenation they explain: the main content in this case is all about the band!

Can anybody explain me why a RSS (about the band) and Buy Music link (from the band) are not related to the main content (all about the band!).

And when they talk about ‘main’ content, do I think of that on site-level (what is the site about) or really specific on page-level (what is the page about).

In my opinion it is normal use of a sidebar that is has elements, like navigation and advertisements, that will always be there. But when I have to take the above example serious, I can have a problem, because they explain not to use a <aside> element because: that will persist on every page..

Hope somebody would like to contribute to this problem.

Kind regards,


One Response to Correct use of aside element

  • Willem-Siebe Spoelstra

    Hi everybody, I didn’t get any reply here. Is this the right place to have quality discussions or not? I was hoping that with this Group I finally had found a place where I could discuss things like this. If this is not the right place, does anybody has suggestions for me? I’m really looking to people to talk with about these kind of topics.

    Kind regards,



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