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Re: Proposed guideline: Allow users to control the rendering of the content

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 17:34:33 -0500 (CDT)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0404301720170.20285-100000@socrates.scdns.net>

One appreciates Yvette's suggestions. Sadly, there are issues!

>>According to spec, pixels are defined as a relative unit of
>>measurement, not absolute. This has clouded the issue 

Only inasmuch as the spec was ignored in writing WCAG 1.0. The anti-design 
ideology prevailed.

> The biggest problem with pixels at the moment, is that Internet Explorer
> doesn't let you scale them using the text size setting in the view menu.

There are lots of ways around that.

> Allow users to control the rendering of the content
> Level 1 success criteria:
> 1. If the technology supports relative measures, specify font sizes in
> relative measures.

I just don't see how that is necessary. I am aware that oldschool WCAG 
supporters think assigning any font size is tantamount to human sacrifice, 
but they were and are quite wrong.

> 2. Make sure the content is still functional if rendering suggestions from
> the author are not followed. 

I really don't know how that's our problem. We're writing valid code... 
apart from providing alternate stylesheets, which is absurdly easy, what 
else are we supposed to be doing?

We're writing Web content, not presaging every oddball misrendering of 
valid content.

> 1. Do not change the default font size of the "main text".

"Body text" (as distinct from "display").

> Who benefits from guideline 1.x:
> * People with limited vision can change their font settings so they can read
> the content in the font size they prefer.

As has been explained several times on this list, standards-compliant Web
developers solved this problem years ago through stylesheet-switchers.
It's also a user-agent issue, that is, the reader's problem, not solely

> * People who are blind or dyslexic can have the content read to them by
> assistive technology without losing functionality.

That relies on valid code more than fonts. The screen reader isn't looking 
at the colours.

> * People with color deficiency can use the web content because there none of
> the functionality depends on color.

It's easy to avoid in the first place.

> body { font-size: 0.8em; }
> Effectively this is saying to the user "I'm just going to ignore your font
> preferences, I want you to read the text at 80% of your prefered text size".

Using any font size says the same thing to the user. And the user may 
override it.

This is the way we design the Web. The CSS spec (and even the still-legal
font element in HTML) are predicated on it. It is a perfectly acceptable
and *expected* method, as the recent WAI usability study documented.  
Typographic design of Web pages is necessary, expected, and *completely*
legal. If you oppose it, you are saying that the Web cannot be

> What do you think about this suggested guideline? I do not want to get into
> the word smithing yet, first I would like to hear from several people what
> they think about a guideline about allowing users to control the rendering
> of the content.

We have methods available right now.


    Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
    Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
    Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Friday, 30 April 2004 18:35:33 UTC

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