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Can end users turn off CSS?

From: Mitake Holloman Burts <mitake.97@alum.dartmouth.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 11:31:55 -0400
Message-Id: <3.0.32.19990811113152.00f0b1b8@alum.dartmouth.org>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I have rather large computer software reference manual that I publish in
PDF and HTML formats from Adobe Framemaker. A number of my users use screen
enlargement and/or screen readers with the HTML version to read the manual.
They each have different color and size combinations that work best for
them. They don't really much care what the document looks like as long as
the structure comes across. 

The problem is that when I publish the manual, one copy of it tends to be
placed on an office file sever and shared by sighted and non sighted users.
The cascading style sheets lock down the color and size that the text
displays in, which is very problematic for the users who prefer white text
on a black background, or arial because they find it more readable. My
solution to date has been to just delete the .css files since most of the
visual users are using the PDF document. This, however, doesn't do much for
the visual users who prefer HTML and seems to me to defeat the purpose of CSS.

Since this problem has been pointed out to me I have tried surfing with
custom color setups and have found that there seem to be a fair number of
sites using CSS that are difficult to use because the style sheets lock the
text color. My way of testing this was to set my text to white and
background to black and check the always use my colors in Netscape 4.6
(supporting CSS) and Netscape 4.04 (without CSS) and look at the same pages
to see the effect. Many of the pages that were unusable in 4.6 were just
fine in 4.04. 

So my question is, is there something that can be done by the end user to
say ignore the style sheets or at least really use my colors and font
sizes. If not what is the appropriate way to address the fact that one of
our major suggestions for accessibility seems to cause some major problems
of its own?

Mitake Holloman Burts
Raleigh, NC
Received on Wednesday, 11 August 1999 11:30:14 UTC

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