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24 ways to impress your friends

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Adrian D.

> Currently in the absence of CSS there will be no icon – which (I’m hoping you agree) is critical to communicating there was an error.

But even with an icon tucked away in your source code, you are still not communicating anything special to a machine that has to interpret your code.

The question you should be asking is, “how do I communicate to a machine that this line of text is important?”

And with that comes a rather simple answer:

[p class=error][strong]Error:[/strong] [em]Message[/em] [/p]

As an added bonus you’ve gained a couple of style hooks that can now be used to set up the CSS that will convey the importance of this text to the human eye.

Even though I agree with you that visual design is communication, I think that CSS is the best place for expressing it. You wouldn’t want red font tags around that error message too? ;)