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Re: Cleaning up SRFI 105 MUSTard (mostly)

This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 105 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 105 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.

I said:
> > Unfortunately, <small> in HTML just makes the font smaller; it's by no
> > means guaranteed that it's the right size for small capital letters.
> > I worry that using <small> will make these REALLY important words hard
> > to see, ...

John Cowan replied:
> While your concern is well-founded in theory, I don't think it's a big
> problem in practice.  <small> may be a little too large, but the CSS
> version is actually a little too small,...
> It's possible that on *some* browsers <small> will look funny, but I
> don't think it will be grossly too prominent or too vanishing.

My concern is that there's no way to know.  It *might* be okay, forever, but I hate to depend on that.

> Studies show that people's eyes jump immediately to bold text when first
> looking at a page, so it makes sense to use it for headings, but almost
> never is it useful at the level of a single word.

Bold words are used all the time in paragraphs.  You can argue that people SHOULDN'T do that, of course, but it's a pretty common style.

But if I understand your concern correctly, it sounds like you're arguing that bold+caps is too strong.  That's plausible enough.  I worry that <small> is too uncontrolled, no telling what it will do.  I can't predict what future browsers will do with <small>, even if every browser today made me happy.

We currently emphasize using <em>, which is intended for emphasis anyway, and it typically shows as italics.  How about we also use caps, so we say <em>MUST</em> and so on?  That should give the emphasis of caps that you want, and the font change (typically italic) would make it stronger... without the overemphasis that forcing bold does.  Small caps looks great on paper, but we just don't have that kind of typographical control.

--- David A. Wheeler