Markup & Style


Whether web text is a heading or paragraph isn’t a matter of typography. Markup is information — data devoid of any and all visible structure. Web designers must often mark up text, but whose job is it to care?

Semantics. Meaningful markup. Chances are, if you design websites, if you care at all about your craft, you’ve developed a deep bond with these concepts. As designers, we care about markup for many reasons. There’s so much to love! Sensible markup is the bedrock of web design, because web content is foremost about format-agnostic information. Beyond that, caring for markup is our way of ensuring that we have hooks for our stylesheets and scripts, and accessible content for our visitors.

But if you think about it, isn’t crafting markup really a job for authors? The folks with whom content has originated should be responsible for its structure as a text. Presentational typographic instruction from designers can affect this structure, and make meaning of it in new ways, but web designers are often also charged with crafting the structure of the data itself. We need to recognize this task, marking up text, as authorship and not design. So we can spend more time designing.

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