Upgrade to Better Intuitive, User-Friendly Website with HTML5’s Smart Elements

Articles, Resources March 1, 2013

No web developer or designer likes to build an ill-suited website for its users. A good website is the one which uses thoughtfully layered elements and clear specifications bearing meaningful information. A well-balanced and a good web structure improve the overall experience of the brand and the user many-folds. However, there are some browsers that need to catch up with the latest design elements but gradually the move will standardize the web in the times to come.

Let’s take a look at the 5 HTML5 elements for building smarter, intuitive websites:

 

Tables in Websites

 

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A table used for creating tables is a visual tool that compresses JPEG files and presents it just like an excel sheet. Thus, there is an underlying problem with Dreamweaver. It lays more emphasis on the visual elements of a website rather than on its content. In other words, it is a misnomer to group it under the WYSIWYG as in reality it is incapable of building highly informational websites. Most websites suffer from this design flaw as they put more importance on color and graphics rather than on content.

 

CSS and Div

 

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A step above the previous use of table for websites, designers had now to learn CSS layouts i.e, the practice of visually placing content without relying on the semantically incorrect table element. The div based layout has been regarded as mark of quality website for years. However, this too suffers from a variety of flaws. The div is used almost every minute by designers to divide and panel their web pages. The div is basically used to prevent content overlaps. However, in practice it is not really capable of this. The reason for this is that the div is, and always has been, a flow content element. No matter how thick its borders are or how dark its background color, it does not stand apart in the structure of the document. Neither, therefore, does its content. Therefore, it is advisable to switch off CSS which is the quickest way to make a Web page responsive, but it’s a good way to see how HTML4 documents are actually worked out.

 

Web Page Headings

 

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Headings are nothing but blocks of content and its importance can be determined with the way it is positioned on the page and its actual context. Determining heading level systemically, based on nesting level, is much more dependable because it aids in decision-making: by including the required heading level automatically, we no longer have to decide separately which numbered heading we should include. It effectively prevents us from choosing the wrong heading level, which would be bad for the structure.

 

ARIA

 

 

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With the greater implementation of HTML ARIA enhancements have become a norm for site developers. They offer a range of accessibility-specific features. However, it would be wrong to regard ARIA roles as a substitute for semantic HTML. ARIA landmark roles may be used only once per document only and are essentially shortcuts to sections of the page. While, HTML elements are building blocks that are used in an integrated fashion.

 

Semantics

 

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The main purpose of semantic HTML is for the automated extraction of meaning from content. Applying a private, non-standard id to a div would not improve the semantics of the element. Visitors can’t see it and browsers will ignore it. This is so because divs are semantically inert elements that don’t really do or say anything. Moreover, sections are often termed as semantic equivalent of divs. Some HTML elements can be authentically semantic as they offer a meaning to their contents. Hence, it is not the right thing to term sections as semantic elements. Sections only create assemblies on the web page rather than adding meaning to the piece of information on the web page.

 

In Conclusion

It is imperative for designers to understand that HTML is a language that conveys a comprehensive whole of meaning, content and graphics to the web browsers. While at other times, the context, hierarchy, relative importance and codependence of data are what are needed. This is where suitable syntax, facilitated by sectioning elements, can be employed. Deploying creative and smart sectioning in web elements helps improve HTML structure without compromising on the significant design elements.

 

About the Author

Helen Thomas works for PLAVEB, a company providing HTML5 website development solutions, located in Los Angeles, California. She likes playing baseball with friends and also enjoys painting in her spare time.

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