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small Element Has Been Changed

Issue: Justification for the changed status.

Details: It now represents small print for side comments and legal print.

Rationale: Why the Change is Required

  1. Better reflects the way this element is used on the web or gives it a purpose so people can start using it.
  2. List Rationale
  3. List Rationale
  4. List Rationale
  5. List Rationale
  6. Applicable Design Principles (proposed)
    • Specific Principle
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Rationale: Why the Change is Not Required

  1. While it may be common to present this as small text, there is a sensible, movement in the legal world to insist that small print is not a good way to present legal information. Although it is easily overcome by any modern browser, having to increase text manually to read this information is an inducement to ignore it - and the legal argument runs that if you are inducing people to ignore something you cannot reasonably expect them later to have read it.
  2. Reducing the size of text is also an accessibility issue - again, not insuperable, but an annoyance.
  3. If an element is needed to cover legal and similar information then a better one should be chosen. Given that in general such information covers large number of pages at a time, the use of a link and metadata, such as the rel attribute, seems much more sensible.
  4. Instead of introducing a new element consider adding elements such as <copyright>, <subtext>, <disclosure>, <disclaimer> and other similar semantically distinct elements. It does not really help semantics at all to overload one element with multiple meanings that just happened to sometimes share similar visual presentation. All of these could have a default rendering of font-size: 0.9em; or something like that.
  5. With alternate semantic elements introduced (and since those would integrate well in existing UAs), there's really no need to introduce a new element as a name collision. The existing HTML4 presentational element is much the same as and the other presentational elements removed from the author conformance criteria. i think could be removed just in the same way as .
  6. Applicable Design Principles (proposed)
    • Specific Principle
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Advice From Authorities



Use Cases

Policies, Guidelines, and Law

Related References

Related E-mail: July 15-19, 2007


Small print is not a good idea Re: Namespace

extracting semantics Re: Namespace

Structuralism or non-presentationalism principle

Re: part of my review of 3.12 Phrase elements ( small element)