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From: Keith Parks
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 1:20PM
Subject: A list of one?
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Hi folks.

Esoteric question for the day, no huge deal, but...

Would it be considered proper semantic formatting to have an unordered
list of one item?

Situation: a page listing new employees, organized by office.
I have each office name as a header (in my case an H3) then the list
of people under that as an <ul>. Most have 4-5 people but a couple
only have one person. I don't want to change the formatting based on
that, but it makes me wonder if one item can be considered "list"?

Thanks,

Keith

******************************
Keith Parks
Graphic Designer/Web Designer
Student Affairs Communications Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7444
(619) 594-1046
mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/communications

http://kparks.deviantart.com/gallery
----------------------------------------------------------

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, served with a side of
slaw.

From: mike.osborne@accease.com
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 1:30PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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My 2cents: it's not the number of items that's the issue but what is to be
conveyed.
Presumably the alternative to a list would be a paragraph - and a single
name doesn't constitute a paragraph. The function of the page is to show
"lists" of new staff per office - if there's only one there's only one.

Cheers
Mike

AccEase Ltd
www.AccEase.com
All the information for all the people all of the time.



> Hi folks.
>
> Esoteric question for the day, no huge deal, but...
>
> Would it be considered proper semantic formatting to have an unordered
> list of one item?
>
> Situation: a page listing new employees, organized by office.
> I have each office name as a header (in my case an H3) then the list
> of people under that as an <ul>. Most have 4-5 people but a couple
> only have one person. I don't want to change the formatting based on
> that, but it makes me wonder if one item can be considered "list"?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Keith
>
> ******************************
> Keith Parks
> Graphic Designer/Web Designer
> Student Affairs Communications Services
> San Diego State University
> San Diego, CA 92182-7444
> (619) 594-1046
> mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/communications
>
> http://kparks.deviantart.com/gallery
> ----------------------------------------------------------
>
> A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, served with a side of
> slaw.
>
>
>
>
>
>

From: Dean Hamack
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 1:35PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On 11/19/08 12:15 PM, "Keith Parks" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Would it be considered proper semantic formatting to have an unordered
> list of one item?

Good question. I've pondered it myself before and ended up with "yes" as the
conclusion.

List of things to do today: paint the house

There may be only one item in it, but it's still a list :)

From: Michael D. Roush
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 1:40PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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Keith Parks wrote:
>
> Esoteric question for the day, no huge deal, but...
>
> Would it be considered proper semantic formatting to have an unordered
> list of one item?
>
> Situation: a page listing new employees, organized by office.
> I have each office name as a header (in my case an H3) then the list
> of people under that as an <ul>. Most have 4-5 people but a couple
> only have one person. I don't want to change the formatting based on
> that, but it makes me wonder if one item can be considered "list"?

Hmmm.....

It strikes me that what you are using as third-level headers are
probably a list of items as well (with the names of new employees as a
sub-list).

I also had a thought that maybe these really aren't lending themselves
to headers and lists, but a set of definition terms and definitions.
The office is the definition term, and the new employee (or the list of
employees) is the content of the definition tag. This would keep a
semantic association between the office and the name/names, without
requiring a single-item list where it isn't warranted.

A part of me is still saying there may be something wrong with this, but
my gut instinct is telling me this makes sense.

Michael

From: Dean Hamack
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 1:55PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On 11/19/08 12:36 PM, "Michael D. Roush" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> It strikes me that what you are using as third-level headers are
> probably a list of items as well (with the names of new employees as a
> sub-list).

First of all Michael, welcome to the list (I've been on another list with
Michael for years).

I agree. Nested unordered lists would be fine if you had a heading that was
"employees", a list with "accounting, technology, advertising" and then
lists of employees in each of those.

> I also had a thought that maybe these really aren't lending themselves
> to headers and lists, but a set of definition terms and definitions.
> The office is the definition term, and the new employee (or the list of
> employees) is the content of the definition tag.

I disagree. The w3c give the following example for a DL:

<DL>
<DT>Dweeb
<DD>young excitable person who may mature
into a <EM>Nerd</EM> or <EM>Geek</EM>

<DT>Hacker
<DD>a clever programmer

<DT>Nerd
<DD>technically bright but socially inept person
</DL>

A person's name is not a definition of the term "employee", and you can't
have multiple definitions for a single term.

Dean Hamack
Macromedia Certified Flash MX Designer/
Lead Web Developer
Bushido Designs
Tel:(206)523-6705
www.bushidodesigns.net

From: John Foliot
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 2:00PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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Michael D. Roush wrote:
>
> It strikes me that what you are using as third-level headers are
> probably a list of items as well (with the names of new employees as a
> sub-list).
>
> I also had a thought that maybe these really aren't lending themselves
> to headers and lists, but a set of definition terms and definitions.
> The office is the definition term, and the new employee (or the list of
> employees) is the content of the definition tag. This would keep a
> semantic association between the office and the name/names, without
> requiring a single-item list where it isn't warranted.


Without actually seeing an example, I suspect either solution to the first
part (h3 vs. dt) might be appropriate. Personally, I would likely lean
towards using the h3 construct as it would generally afford an easier
mechanism for inter-page navigation: the h3's being locales that could be
quickly accessed by bringing up a list of headers: all locales being
equal, thus all h3s (you could extend this exponentially if you had
locales in multiple states, where State name could be h2's) - the point
being that the headers architecture is just another way of thinking of
hierarchal listings.

As for individual locales - absolutely use a ul of one li. As others have
noted, it is simply a list of one thing. More importantly, if other h3s
have lists of multiple items, then all h3s of similar use should maintain
the list structure: this would be a satisfaction of WCAG 1, Priority 2
#13.4 Use navigation mechanisms in a consistent manner. Even if you chose
to use the definition list, many of the descriptions (<dd>) would contain
an unordered list still, and I would argue that for this reason each <dd>
should have the same basic structure, again even if the list only had one
list item.

JF
============================
John Foliot
Program Manager
Stanford Online Accessibility Program
http://soap.stanford.edu
Stanford University
Tel: 650-862-4603

Soap Is a program directed by the
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
============================

From: Keith Parks
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 2:05PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On Nov 19, 2008, at 12:36 PM, Michael D. Roush wrote:

> Hmmm.....
>
> It strikes me that what you are using as third-level headers are
> probably a list of items as well (with the names of new employees as a
> sub-list).

Hmmm....

That could make sense.

> I also had a thought that maybe these really aren't lending themselves
> to headers and lists, but a set of definition terms and definitions.

I recall that some listees have raised *strong* objections to the idea
of using the <dl> for anything other than a word/term and its
definition. And since Fred Smith and Leasha Jones are not the
"definition" of the Cashier's Office...

But still, I know what you mean about the semantic association. But
wouldn't a heading *imply* an association with the content that
follows it? Maybe not as tightly as a <dt> and a <dd>.

******************************
Keith Parks
Graphic Designer/Web Designer
Student Affairs Communications Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7444
(619) 594-1046
mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/communications

http://kparks.deviantart.com/gallery
----------------------------------------------------------

World Peace through Cascading Style Sheets.

From: Michael D. Roush
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 2:15PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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Dean Hamack wrote:
> On 11/19/08 12:36 PM, "Michael D. Roush" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
>> It strikes me that what you are using as third-level headers are
>> probably a list of items as well (with the names of new employees as a
>> sub-list).
>
> First of all Michael, welcome to the list (I've been on another list with
> Michael for years).

I've been lurking on this list for quite a while... rarely say anything
though. Nice to see your name pop up here. Dean is truly one of the
most talented designers I've never met! :)

>> I also had a thought that maybe these really aren't lending themselves
>> to headers and lists, but a set of definition terms and definitions.
>> The office is the definition term, and the new employee (or the list of
>> employees) is the content of the definition tag.
>
> I disagree. The w3c give the following example for a DL:
>
> <DL>
> <DT>Dweeb
> <DD>young excitable person who may mature
> into a <EM>Nerd</EM> or <EM>Geek</EM>
> </DL>
>
> A person's name is not a definition of the term "employee", and you can't
> have multiple definitions for a single term.

However, I would suggest that (semantically) a person's name is an
appropriate definition for an office name when it appears under the
heading "New Employees".

I'm not suggesting multiple dd tags, but an unordered list inside the dd
tag when more than one new employee exists. The list is the definition
(much like a list of possible definitions is the "definition" of a term
in the dictionary).

Something like...

<h3>New Employees</h3>
<dl>
<dt>Human Resources</dt>
<dd>John Smith</dd>
<dt>Maintenance</dt>
<dd>
<ul>
<li>Joe Public</li>
<li>Mary Jones</li>
</ul>
</dd>
</dl>


This way, every definition term is semantically associated with the
heading "New Employees". The definition of each term (which should be
understood as "New Employees, Human Resources", etc.) is either the
single name or the list of names, as appropriate.

A simple bit of css and they appear the same to the eye whether they are
a single name or a list of names.

(I should backpedal a little bit here and say that I'm not sure I see
any real issue with making a one-item list. What I'm suggesting here is
simply what I think makes the most structural sense given the example.)

Michael

From: Waltenberger, Lon (LNI)
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 2:30PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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I agree that a list of 1 is, nevertheless, a list, even though some
style guides probably disagree. One must choose which style guide
they're going to use and stick with it for consistency.

I also agree with Mr. Hamack's interpretation of a definition list and
its intended use.

However, I'm sure that one could alter the definition of a definition
list to justify an end. It's not a particularly clear world we live in.

During a recent test of several options one option used a definition
list to try to do something the tag wasn't really intended to do. When
JAWS announced the "definition" the user stopped, confused by what was
being defined and why.

Again, I was reminded of what one JAWS user once told me: "Just write
valid markup and leave the rest to the user."

That brings us back to defining just what a definition is.

From: Keith Parks
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 2:35PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On Nov 19, 2008, at 1:11 PM, Michael D. Roush wrote:

> Dean Hamack wrote:
>>
>> A person's name is not a definition of the term "employee", and you
>> can't
>> have multiple definitions for a single term.
>
> However, I would suggest that (semantically) a person's name is an
> appropriate definition for an office name when it appears under the
> heading "New Employees".

OK, well that warrants yet another serious "Hmmm..." ;^)

Yeah, I'll buy that.

******************************
Keith Parks
Graphic Designer/Web Designer
Student Affairs Communications Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7444
(619) 594-1046
mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/communications

http://kparks.deviantart.com/gallery
----------------------------------------------------------

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, served with a side of
slaw.

From: Keith Parks
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 3:05PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On Nov 19, 2008, at 1:27 PM, Waltenberger, Lon (LNI) wrote:

> That brings us back to defining just what a definition is.

The one that seems relevant in my context, and sways me, is: "An exact
statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something".

So under the heading of "New Employees" for our Cashier's Office, the
"scope" would be the name or names of those employees.

Oh, and I'm *sure* that back in the early days of the W3C (or before
that?), when some programmer-type was trying to decide what to call
this particular mark-up, they looked up all the definitions of the
word "definition."

Not.

******************************
Keith Parks
Graphic Designer/Web Designer
Student Affairs Communications Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7444
(619) 594-1046
mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/communications

http://kparks.deviantart.com/gallery
----------------------------------------------------------

World Peace through Cascading Style Sheets.

From: Patrick Burke
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 3:35PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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At 01:27 PM 11/19/2008, Waltenberger, Lon (LNI) wrote:
>During a recent test of several options one option used a definition
>list to try to do something the tag wasn't really intended to do. When
>JAWS announced the "definition" the user stopped, confused by what was
>being defined and why.
>
>Again, I was reminded of what one JAWS user once told me: "Just write
>valid markup and leave the rest to the user."

As a practical matter, it's time-consuming to hear "Definition list
of 17 items", esp if DLs are used repeatedly throughout a page. By
virtue of cutting out the 4-syllable word "definition", plain old ULs
are easier to deal with in Jaws.

Trying to get beyond one program's implementation, I would observe
that headings, lists, paragraphs are the simplest building blocks, &
(nearly?) all screen readers have efficient ways of dealing with
them. I can't remember if there are keyboard navigation commands to
deal with DLs. I also can't remember the last time I ran into a
DL/DD/DT that was defining anything. ...

Patrick



--
Patrick J. Burke

Coordinator
UCLA Disabilities &
Computing Program

Phone: 310 206-6004
E-mail: burke <at> ucla. edu

From: Cliff Tyllick
Date: Wed, Nov 19 2008 3:55PM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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Patrick Burke said:

>As a practical matter, it's time-consuming to hear "Definition list
>of 17 items", esp if DLs are used repeatedly throughout a page. By
>virtue of cutting out the 4-syllable word "definition", plain old ULs
>are easier to deal with in Jaws.
Cliff replied:
Yes, and perhaps if we remembered more frequently that it's possible to style a UL to display no bullets we would use it for these purposes rather than try to extend the definition of "definition" beyond the blatantly obvious.

To return to the original question, "Is it okay to have a list of one?"

No. Unless it is. And the situation described--lists of employees by department, with a few departments having only one each--looks like one of those "unless" cases to me. And a UL styled to show no bullets is the most reasonable of the proposals I've read so far.

IMHO.


Cliff Tyllick
Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
512-239-4516
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

From: Tim Beadle
Date: Thu, Nov 20 2008 2:15AM
Subject: Re: A list of one?
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On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 8:50 PM, Dean Hamack < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> I disagree. The w3c give the following example for a DL:
>
> <DL>
> <DT>Dweeb
> <DD>young excitable person who may mature
> into a <EM>Nerd</EM> or <EM>Geek</EM>
>
> <DT>Hacker
> <DD>a clever programmer
>
> <DT>Nerd
> <DD>technically bright but socially inept person
> </DL>
>
> A person's name is not a definition of the term "employee", and you can't
> have multiple definitions for a single term.

But the article from which you quote also said this:

"Here is an example with multiple terms and descriptions:

<DL>
<DT>Center
<DT>Centre
<DD> A point equidistant from all points
on the surface of a sphere.
<DD> In some field sports, the player who
holds the middle position on the field, court,
or forward line.
</DL>
Another application of DL, for example, is for marking up dialogues,
with each DT naming a speaker, and each DD containing his or her
words."

-- http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/lists.html#h-10.3

Of *course* terms can have multiple definitions (look up "minute" in a
dictionary!), and the purist position that "definition lists are
*only* for definitions" is not the only one available.

Regards,

Tim