Microformats, the BBC and friends

I recently had the job of letting the microformats community know that the BBC were having to drop hCalendar due to accessibility concerns surrounding the use of abbr and the date-time pattern.

My friend and colleague Jake Archibald published a summary of what’s happened so far, what the current alternative suggestions are and the BBC’s take on them. It’s a useful read if you want to catch-up and see where we are.

I think the best thing to come out of this is probably that we’re talking about actual alternatives again rather than just waiting for more evidence (which often feels like a get-out clause for inaction). Whether we’re doing that right though… well, we’ll see. I appreciate the apprehension that comes with changing something that’s already had some seal of “yep.. good to go.. use it!” – no one wants to get this “wrong” again. Equally though, I really do hope we can come to a compromise and “solve” the problem this time. Extending HTML 4 was ever going to be especially pretty, but bear with us (please don’t mention HTML 5 to me – it’s for your own good).

On lighter notes, here’s a couple interesting microformatty things:

And lastly, I wanted to mention that I should hopefully have details on the next London Microformats vEvent very soon.

Based on feedback from the last event we held during London Web Week, Drew and I are planning a “Getting Started” event, with back-to-basics semantics and microformats implementations.

The BBC needs you!

Are you a screen reader user, or know someone who is? Want to contribute to making the Beeb a more accessible place?

The BBC is looking for people to let them know what screen reader users hear when they visit the new Programmes pages, which just happen to contain the ever controversial abbreviation design pattern contained within the hCalendar microformat, or whether they expand and listen to title attributes and abbreviations at all.

Please pop on over to the BBC RadioLabs blog article and leave your feedback or get in touch if you would think you can help test!