SimpleQuiz › Part XVII: Conclusion

In looking over the comments on the latest SimpleQuiz (after 17 of these, I do wish I had named it something different), it seems the original goal has been skewed a bit.

Instead of focusing on why certain methods are better than others, a majority of opinons focus on the fact that certain methods are outright wrong and you should be ashamed for even thinking about them.

The hard work of the W3C can sometimes be vague regarding certain elements (perhaps they have reasons) and certainly the use of some elements can be interpreted in a variety of ways. This can be frustrating for those seeking a “correct” way to handle x, y, and z. But really, through these quizzes, we’re just trying to get an opinion on why you’d prefer one method over the other–what are the consequences?

So with that, I offer a bonus question:

Q: Which response is more beneficial?

  1. ____, ____, and ____ are wrong.
  2. Your method is useless.
  3. I hate markup.
  4. Let me tell you why I prefer _____ over ____, ____ and _____.


  1. Jeff says:

    D. because that way everybody learns about the reasoning behind your choice, and then can either disagree or agree as they choose, but after hearing your oppinion, plus, you’re being very open for discussion so you might even learn something.

  2. Rowen says:

    D, because A.
    And BTW, B. C.. *shakes head*

  3. The only sane suggestion seems to be D. Otherwise there’s no input on *what* is wrong, just the quantitative data that X is wrong–which may be mere opinion, and not so quantitative…

  4. Adam says:

    Silly Dan. If you think a simple rhetorical/satirical bonus question will cure the trollers and flamers of their trolling and flaming, then you are further gone than I thought :)
    Oh, and of course the answer is C. Stupid faces.

  5. Foofy says:

    B. Because I just like to be mean. :)

  6. Brad Daily says:

    Obviously D, and I think Mr. Zeldman summed it up yesterday better than I ever could:
    “If we wish to incorporate these hard-won technologies into practical, real-world practice, let’s not turn off the uncommitted or uninformed by raging about minutia.”

  7. Rick Yribe says:

    Choice A might be acceptable if there are only 4 choices.
    But, I would probably say D only because it is the only choice that is promoting a good discussion and helps to further which choice is the ‘best’ or if there is a ‘best’ choice.

  8. I believe C is the correct answer.
    And, to answer the last SimpleQuiz, HTML isn’t semantically rich enough for every case and I believe that is one of them. So you get to pick whatever you like the most. :)

  9. Jon Plummer says:

    I’ve recently started a new job. And at my new job, meetings are popular. It seems common that the inital answer in meetings is D, followed by the witty rejoinder of A, at which point D is generally reiterated with overtones of B. Once the meeting is over, participants wander away muttering mostly C and a little B to each other or under their breath.

  10. eric says:

    C, definitely C. :]

  11. eric says:

    ps, your comment preview is spitting out the following at the foot of the page:
    MT::App::Comments=HASH(0x827d590) Use of uninitialized value in sprintf at plugins/ line 37.

  12. D. I think it’s the best because 1) it gives people an explanation of why they may be wrong and 2) it allows people to make an informed decision about which way they think works best

  13. Max says:

    On August 13, 2004 12:45 AM, Brad Daily said:
    ….Mr. Zeldman…:
    “If we wish to incorporate these hard-won technologies into practical, real-world practice, let’s not turn off the uncommitted or uninformed by raging about minutia.”
    Actually it would be more appropriate to have used the plural from: ‘minutae’

  14. Anonymous says:


  15. D. tho we’ve all been contributing to a,b,c *hangs head in shame*

  16. I would prefer D over A, B and C, because A is just outright wrong, method B is really useless and I really hate nothing more than C. Oops! Doing it again ;-)

  17. Patrick says:

    I completely agree with the sentiment here.
    A, B and C are wrong and quite useless. In fact, I hate them.

  18. David says:

    I agree with post #2
    D, because A

  19. Cory M. says:

    D, definitely.

  20. steve says:

    can I use a lifeline?
    I prefer if people used D so I could learn a thing or two… that’s mostly why I am here and there right now. Eventually I hope to be able to use D as well but occasionally I get so frustrated that I swear by C, and certainly don’t konw enough to throw out an Aor B yet. I hope to never get that arrogant.

  21. AkaXakA says:

    A, B, and D are wrong.
    Your method is useless.
    Let me tell you why I prefer C over A, B and D:
    I hate markup.

  22. tirin says:

    D. It is the heaviest of the letters.

  23. Daniel Roberts says:

    E: ____ owns _____

  24. lolly says:

    D, complimented by C.

  25. Timm says:

    An address is a data set. Therefore xml or a table is appropriate.

  26. Lalitree says:

    Finally a SimpleQuiz that I know the answer to!
    By the way, comment #9=brilliant.

  27. Yannick L. says:

    I agree with comment #1. With D you do get to state your point and then it opens the floor for discussion afterwards. It is kind of doing that right now actually.

  28. Malarkey says:

    Can’t we just go back to doing everything in Flash please Dan?

  29. jose silva says:

    I agree with option D, we choose and argument why have choosed this option instead of the other one’s.

  30. E :)
    A is simple wrong, B is not very useful, I think I just hate C and D is too much work…

  31. mmmbeer says:

    Let me tell you why I prefer C over A, B and D. Because someone at some point has to make some silly choice about which markup will be the most generic, and then everyone else has to fit their concepts within those containers.
    Or, the developer is left to create their own or use a generic container and then any sense that there was in the original decision goes flying out the window.

  32. Dan Jallits says:

    Either A or D.
    A. because sometimes all given solutions might not fit the build. However I would expect reasons why the given solutions are not accurate and a valid solution in return.
    D. Jeff (Comment #1) summed it up nicely enough.

  33. Mark Lennox says:

    I always go for D when people look for constructive criticism and unfortunately a lot of the time they hear it as B :( Whatcha gonna do?

  34. Egor Kloos says:

    Yes, I get your point. Maybe you could’ve called this SimpleOptions. All the multiple choices work afterall, even if the solutions are not ideal. In ant case the HTML nazi’s where always going to jump all over this.

  35. Laura says:

    D is more beneficial because it has the potential to help promote the understanding of web standards methods and theory in a constructive environment.
    For example in SimpleQuiz Part XVII "Addresses", I prefer D over A, B, and C. Now let me recap and tell you why :-)
    A. The address element would be great to use but it indicates "contact information for a document or a major part of a document". That is, it is for the author’s address. No clear explanation says it for any other address information. Only inline content (and the p element in Transitional version) is allowed inside the address element so you would need to add line breaks or spans. A screen reader would just blast through the line breaks or spans without pauses. The address element seems like it was included in the spec to present addresses as blocks. It doesn’t have an internal structure, despite that fact that most addresses are structured in some way or another.
    B. Using a div is on the right track semantically but using paragraphs for the internal structure are not. The lines of an address are not true paragraphs.
    C. Using a list fixes the screen reader issue of blasting through the line breaks, but it also is a kludge because contact information isn’t a list, is it?
    D. Sometimes there are no simple answers even in a simple quiz. There really aren’t that many choices good for semantic mark up for addresses. David Schontzler said in 8 above “HTML isn’t semantically rich enough for every case”. This hits the nail on the head.
    Besides the issues with the three first multiple choice answers, the span element and the css rule { white-space: pre; } also have issues. The span element is semantically empty, so it can be used for anything, and it’s really not adequate for anything. It is essentially XML in old HTML clothes. With using the address element and the css rule { white-space: pre; }, you wouldn’t be able to do things that relate to the line structure, since in this case the line structure does not exist in the element structure. You also have the accessibility problem of a screen reader just blasting through without pauses with both span and white-space: pre.
    Two other options to consider.
    Firstconsider the use of divs rather than <br />s for line structured content.

    <div class="address">
    <div class="name">ABC Widgets, Inc.</div>
    <div class="street">100 - 1234 West Main Street</div>
    <div class="citystate">Anytown, State</div>
    <div class="zipcode">00000-000</div>
    <div class="phone">555-555-1234</div>
    <div class="fax">555-555-1234</div>

    This gives:
    1. Line breaks by default (just as break gives).
    2. Hooks to attach styles to as desired. You can of course omit class attributes if you don’t need them. And using a heading element on the name would not be wrong. Using strong on the name is imaginable too.
    3. But like the span element, isn’t the div element also semanically empty?
    Second (and finally) consider the use of a data table for addresses.
    Isn’t contact information really an implied data table? (Company=ABC Widgets, Inc; Address=100-234 West Main Street; City=Anytown; etc.) Tables in fact are not evil but useful and important when used for data. So perhaps the most logical (or least illogical) and most accessible approach would be to use an explicit data table:
    <table summary=
    "This table contains contact information for ABC Widgets, Incorporated.">
    <caption>Contact information for ABC Widgets, <abbr title="Incorporated">Inc.</abbr>
    <th scope="row">Address</th>
    <td>100 - 1234 West Main Street</td>
    <th scope="row">City</th>
    <th scope="row">State</th>
    <th scope="row">Zip</th>
    <th scope="row">Phone</th>
    <th scope="row">Fax</th>

    This gives:
    1. Line breaks by default (just as break gives).
    2. Hooks to attach styles to as desired.
    3. Accessibility.

  36. jim says:

    laura, will you marry me?

  37. Tyson Tune says:

    It really is too bad when people use good discussion to air their personal issues. Ont he other hand, giving good reasons why you disagree with a specific technique is a good thing.

  38. Carmelyne Thompson says:

    Personally, I go with D and then support it with A to conclude with B and then I realize it is C.

  39. Ross Harvey says:

    I would be rather worried if any designer intelligent enough to be reading sites such as SimpleBits opted for anything other than D.
    A choice is not a valid choice without reasoning.

  40. Sean says:

    Laura, I think you need help.
    Or maybe ‘SimplePreferences’.

  41. KidDubya says:

    Whoa Laura…just put down the books and back away…slowly.
    Go for a walk, get some sunshine or something.

  42. John says:

    Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful explanation, Laura.
    I learned a lot!

  43. Randy says:

    Laura, great rationale. Thanks for posting.

  44. GCSE says:

    Laura that’s a great bit of info!
    Wow I was scrolling down this page for about 30 minutes.

  45. voltath says:

    hmm C
    C++ even better

  46. Anonymous says:

    Excellent, Laura. Simply excellent.

  47. B says:

    Laura, yes it looks like tabular data to me with contents of cells being
    related to cell contents in adjacent cells. Tabular data is best put in a table and if set up properly (with summary, caption, headings with scope, etc) it will make sense from an accessibility point of view.

  48. Jim says:

    Why not use hcard…