Discard the B and I Tags and Keep Strong and Em

Writers use bold and italic. Traditionally, the markup we used was <b>. . .</b> and <i>. . .</i>, respectively. But maybe we shouldn’t.

Reputedly, in HTML, they can make accessibility harder:

  • — A simpler argument is supplied by Siteimprove.

  • — A somewhat more detailed argument is from WebAIM.

One argument is that we should change our coding, at least in the future, but there are arguments against this:

If you opt to use new coding, use either CSS styling or this semantic markup:

  • — for bold, replace <b>. . .</b>; with <strong>. . .</strong>

  • — for italic, replace <i>. . .</i> with <em>. . .</em>

The old tags were more intutive. The new forms are not so much. But if mnemonics could help you, try these: “Be Strong” and “I Am”.