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RE: Checkpoint 3.3

From: Neff, Robert <Robert.Neff@usmint.treas.gov>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 07:37:42 -0400
Message-ID: <B1E68D292F3CD111A57C0000F67CB3CAC2F169@WDCSRV03.usmint.treas.gov>
To: "'Jason White'" <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "WAI - EO (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Jason, 

You said the magic words in your response, "why style sheets should be
used".  Then the guidelines should reflect "Should"

Jason said >Support for CSS has existed in major browsers for at least the
past two years, and though it is inconsistent, it is steadily improving.

rob>it is not there yet across the board! Do you want me to build an online
catlag using CSS and have customoers come to it and watch it blow up or not
be able to use it in older browsers - because it has problems degrading
gracefully, because something was added at the last minute and not checked
on Netscape 2. Yes we still get hit by people who use older browsers with
multiple versions.  There are people who do not upgrade and they are our
customers.  Do you want me to provide information to people and have then
not be able to access it or at least have difficulty?  Both of these
scenarios will have us answering a congressional response - not fun!.  If
this is the environment that you want all the federal web developers to live
in, then you may not get much support.  Most web develoeprs are just now
understanding HTML 3.2!

I am trying my  best to Educate and Outreach to plant seeds on what is
coming and to let them hear this for the first time.  Most people do not
know that PDF can be posted as long as there is a HTML version.  Most people
have no ideas what CSS is.  We have a lot of education to do!

jason>due to the importance of style sheets as the only technology which
supports rich visual (or auditory)presentation, with retention of the
document's logical structure and markup semantics.

rob>this means that every government office will be required to switch to
CSS.  This is not going to happen and you will be alienating the web
developers that you want on your side.  They have no money for training and
I see no plans where funds will be allocated by the Rehab Act Section 508 to
provide for training.  This environemnt is not client-server, it is
everyone, technical and many non-technical.  

They can still use HTML 4, tables for layout and without depractated fonts.
Get them to this point and give the web developers time to adopt CSS and
hopefully someone will detail when CSS blows up in different versions of
Netscape.  But unfortunately tables are a big part of life in the government
and CSS is not.

Now, we am implementing CSS on our intranet because we use one browser, but
we are lucky.  Most offices are a kludge and the politics are such that the
web developers has no control of the environment.


rob

-----Original Message-----
From: Jason White [mailto:jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU]
Sent: Monday, July 12, 1999 7:26 PM
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Subject: Re: Checkpoint 3.3


Without using style sheets, and without confusing the distinction between
structure and presentation, there are few means available in current HTML
technology by which to control layout and presentation while maintaining
correct document structure. Visual presentation is, however, important;
and this is why style sheets should be used. The guidelines are careful to
require that only style language features supported by user agents be
employed. Support for CSS has existed in major browsers for at least the
past two years, and though it is inconsistent, it is steadily improving.

I would strongly oppose any attempt to remove or otherwise erode the
requirement specified in checkpoint 3.3, due to the importance of style
sheets as the only technology which supports rich visual (or auditory)
presentation, with retention of the document's logical structure and
markup semantics.

The simplest solution to the practical problem would be to require
existing web sites to be repaired up to level A conformance, whereas new
web sites (or existing web sites when their content is substantially
updated) must achieve double-A conformance. This is an issue that should
be addressed to policy developers; the guidelines must conform to their
own goals and definitions, and should not be unduly influenced by whatever
problems may arise for developers if government policies are formulated
which do not adequately address the issue of compliance costs.
Received on Tuesday, 13 July 1999 07:38:17 GMT

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