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I have been working on a webpage that contains many mailing addresses contained in <address> tags. Currently I have been looking into using microformats to "enrich" the present addresses contained on my webpage.

While researching I have read microformats are not uniformly supported by browsers, and draw unwanted attention to your data (data mining). I also noticed microformats add a lot of "beef" to code and many of my internal content editors may not find it so easy to grasp.

Should microformats be used over the <address> tag? Do microformats provide a better user experience?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The <address> tag is intended to be used for contact information for the author of the nearest <article> or <body> ancestor. Using it to indicate contact information for multiple entities or even a single entity that is not the author of the page is confusing the semantics of the element. This is why we have the microformat hCard.

See https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/HTML/Element/address

Additionally, I would argue the hCard CAN provide a better UX than <address>. Most browsers have plugins, or native functionality that can detect microformats on a page and allow you to do various things such as import them into your address book or download a vCard.

See http://microformats.org/wiki/browsers

These functions are not provided with <address>. Arguably, this could not be of much benefit depending on if your user-base would install a plugin for using microformats.

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as far as i'm aware the <address> tag and any address microformats have no user-visible implications, which makes this not really a UX issue at all: Its only relevance is to search engines or other crawlers.

google and bing (via schema.org) recommend the ContactPoint schema. If you want your data indexed, use that. If you don't want your data indexed, it doesn't really matter what you do.

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..though it does affect the user's experience who is looking for the information through a search engine. Google maps locations and enhances search results based on structured data. –  Luke Charde Aug 31 '12 at 4:10
    
I would like to improve the search results but I was just curious if mircoformats were worth their trouble. I looking for an answer that won't just benefit the user but benefit our editors as well. Editors have a different type of experience and that's maintaining the code. –  Courtney Jordan Sep 1 '12 at 13:19

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