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Re: css abuse

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 15:03:23 -0400
Message-Id: <199909291915.PAA18407@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
At 02:23 PM 9/29/99 -0400, Chris Ridpath wrote:
>For this version of A-Prompt, we won't be looking at what's in the style
>sheets. I think we've got enough to do just implementing the WAI guidelines
>in the HTML doc itself. For the next version we will check them.
>I hope that there's not very much the page author can do in the style sheet
>to create inaccessible pages.

There are definitely things that people can do in the stylesheet that
express semantics that got left out of the markup.

Failing to review the author's stylesheet along with the HTML is a
functional shortfall, or a failure to do better, or some such thing. In the
example cited if there are color differences and nothing else visible that
marks the alternatives as different, then the colorblind individual is out
of luck.  Only by detecting the color difference in the stylesheet could
A-Prompt discover this violation.  The CLASS names that are in the HTML are
sufficient.  Unless the author also provides a B&W stylesheet with
alternate treatment of the color-coded distinction, the document as shipped
is broken as regards access.

As Len was saying, the tool can't really evaluate whether the CLASS names
capture the content of the styling or not, without having the author
manually review the CLASS names themselves.  This is recommended.  There
should be prompting in the authoring process which explains to the author
that the style names should be expressive, not merely convenient.  This is
probably beyond what A-Prompt can do, but just as a spell checker has
access to a dictionary and will usefully suggest words you might have
meant, styling will not be accessible until the whole style management
infrastructure gets the author engaged with received corpora of good style
such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Modern Language Association
style guide for journal articles.

There are two levels of challenge the author's style naming should be
subjected to:  a) does the name of the style (actually the CLASS token in
the HTML, but this is what would appear in the author tool as the selector
for styling) state the reason why this portion of the content is styled
this way?  If not, fix it.  b) Is there a more general rationale that
suffices as a rationale for this styling?  If so, relax the class to the
more general class so that it is more likely an alternate-media stylesheet
will deal with this class already.


>----- Original Message -----
>From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
>To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
>Cc: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
>Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 10:55 AM
>Subject: Re: css abuse
>> Also, re the objection to the subject line here, "css abuse" did not mean
>> that css was abusive.  It just meant that someone could abuse css to
>> violate the guidelines,  just as they could misuse practically any
>> feature.
>> Still, it shows I better stick to more sober subject lines in the future.
>> Len
>> -------
>> Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
>> Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
>> Department of Electrical Engineering
>> Temple University
>> Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
>> kasday@acm.org
>> (215) 204-2247 (voice)
>> (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Wednesday, 29 September 1999 15:03:19 UTC

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