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Re: Textual Images vs. Styled Text, Round Two *ding*

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 11:27:58 +0100 (BST)
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.21-pb.0009291056110.27033-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Wed, 27 Sep 2000, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

> web designers will _not_ accept styled text as a solution because
> of the following:
> 
> (1)  CSS is not widely implemented yet and excludes older browsers.

Excuse me butting in, but this assertion should not be allowed to
stand unchallenged.  I suspect that you presented this as a parody
rather than as something that you believe yourself, but, since it is
such a widespread response, then I respectfully suggest it needs to be
more overtly challenged.

The whole point of the stylesheet concept is that it does NOT "exclude
older browsers".  On the contrary, its proper use ensures access to
the content by older browsers (minus some details of the presentation,
of course).

At some point, the buggy CSS implementations in early browser attempts
have to be written-off, and I'd suggest it is reasonable to assume
that anyone still using those old browser versions is more interested
in stable access to content than in the precise details of the
author's suggested presentation.

There are some relatively simple ways of shielding older browsers from
CSS, even if you don't assume that someone using such a browser is
going to have so much trouble accessing other people's sites that they
will have disabled CSS anyway, long before coming to visit your own.

If the "graphical designers" of your quote are more interested in
achieving their graphical effects than in reaching a wide readership
for their content, then they are using the wrong medium anyway. I'm
not for a moment suggesting that they should not use their graphics -
just that they should work with the strengths of their medium rather
that trying to fight against it.  And the strength of HTML+CSS is its
potential for flexible and adaptable rendering.

> It is "our" responsibility (as informed advocates for web accessibility)
> to provide the right answers, and we have a responsibility to not
> leave the web designer hanging -- it is not acceptable to say "don't
> use that thing which meets your needs, instead use this method
> which will not."

But some designers express "needs" which are perverse in WWW terms -
and that cannot be achieved anyway.  But in attempting to achieve the
unachievable, they can produce some disastrous consequences.  

best regards
Received on Friday, 29 September 2000 06:28:06 GMT

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