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Re: Can end users turn off CSS?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 11:46:49 -0400 (EDT)
To: Mitake Holloman Burts <mitake.97@alum.dartmouth.org>
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9908111141530.31679-100000@tux.w3.org>
The problem seems to be a bug in Netscape. Users can turn off style sheets -
select the menu sequence Edit - Preferences - Advanced and then turn off the
"Enable Style Sheets" Button. (There are a number of browsers out there with
better CSS support - Amaya, Explorer, Opera, and others. I believe the
support in Mozilla will also be much better, although I have not tried to
play with it in the current builds, although my experience is that they are
stable enough to use as a browser.)

Another alternative would be to set up a proxying arrangement so users can
specify their own stylesheets and get them included through server-side
hacking. Not very elegant, but nor is the initial set up...

Charles McCN

On Wed, 11 Aug 1999, Mitake Holloman Burts wrote:

  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

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Wednesday, 11 August 1999 11:46:52 UTC

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