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Re: [REQ]: Advice concerning difficult to view web site.

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 17:52:10 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: `Mark Andrew Nassy <nassy@mac.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, Dick Brown <dickb@microsoft.com>, "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
aloha, mark!

sorry for the delay in getting this to you, but i've had a rash of 
connectivity (and other offline) problems recently, and i wanted to ensure 
that the information contained herein is at least comprehensible...  i fear 
that i may have failed miserably in achieving that last goal, but here goes...

issue 1: relative links don't work in your local copy of the page

solution: as suggested in the abstract by charles on-list, try adding the 
following line immediately following the line that contains the <HEAD> 
element of the copy of the document source you saved locally:

<BASE HREF="http://www.etrade.com/">

this will append the domain to the relative URLs on the page (and every one 
i tried after adding the above BASE declaration worked)

issue 2: the font size of the items inside the table

problem statement: they are being controlled by the following (illegally 
declared, but more of that later) STYLE declaration:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
TD {font-size:9pt;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}
TH {font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}
TH.cow {font-size:12pt;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}
PRE {font-size:10pt;font-family: Courier;}
SPAN.pig {font-size:14pt;font-family: 
SPAN.cow {font-size:11pt;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;font-weight:bold;}
SPAN.sheep {font-size:8pt;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}
input.gr { background : #CCCCCC none; color : #CCCCCC; }

so, if you have support for stylesheets turned on, and it sounds as if you 
do, the solution is to find the STYLE declaration reproduced above and 
replace it with the following:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
TD {font-size:105%;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;} /* font-size:9pt; */
TH {font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}
TH.cow {font-size:120%;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;} /* font-size:12pt; */
PRE {font-size:110%;font-family: Courier;} /* font-size:10pt; */
SPAN.pig {font-size:130%;font-family: 
Arial,Helvetica;font-weight:bold;color:#FF6600;} /* font-size:14pt; */
SPAN.cow {font-size:115%;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;font-weight:bold;} /* 
font-size: 11pt */
SPAN.sheep {font-family: Arial,Helvetica;} /* font-size:8pt; */
input.gr { background : #CCCCCC none; color : #CCCCCC; }
/* added by GJR */
SMALL {font-size:95%;font-family: Arial,Helvetica;}

the reason that the font size remains small in the table of "Hottest 
Stocks" when you remove the SMALL tag is that the point size for various 
portions of the TABLE are hard-coded to a specific point size using 
stylesheets....  and, since CSS includes presentational markup in its 
cascade order, style takes precedence over presentational markup, so 
removing the presentational element shouldn't impact the cascade order, as 
IE was ignoring them anyway...

what i actually did was simply substitute a percentage for the point sizes 
defined by the page's authors, so that IE could use those percentages to 
calculate the increase in font size, based on whatever _you_ have defined 
as the base font size for the page...  the drawback of this is that it 
causes the page to render in a space larger than an average screen, thereby 
necessitating scrolling...  as for how i arrived at the percentages i used, 
i simply added 5% for each point over 8...  this decision was based on 2 
assumptions: 1) that you've already set MSIE to display the largest 
possible fonts, and 2) that IE on the Mac supports this feature of CSS (but 
from your problem statement, it sounds as if it does)

if you find that the ensuing enlargement is still insufficient, you can 
simply re-edit the style declaration and increase the percentages...

of course, having to do this each time you want to view a page on eTrade is 
quite unreasonable (not to mention time consuming), so (if IE 4.5 for the 
mac has the same features as 4.01 had on the PC platform) you should probably:

A) copy everything between the <!-- (less-than bang dash dash) and the --> 
(dash dash greater-than) and paste it into a file using a plain text editor 
(or another editor -- just make sure that you save it as plain text/ASCII) 
and save the file as: etrade.css (etrade dot css)

B) go to the Internet Options (they may be called "Preferences" in the Mac 
version of IE) and see if there is an "Accessibility" button somewhere near 
the bottom of the first (titled "General") property sheet...  if there is, 
activate it, and then check the checkbox labeled "User Style Sheet: Format 
Documents using my style sheet"; if there isn't an accessibility button on 
the General property sheet for the mac, skip to step D)

C) move into the text entry field labelled "Style Sheet" and type in the 
address of your style sheet (i.e. the full path and filename -- i'm not 
sure how one does that on the Mac, but there should be a "Browse" button 
nearby, which will allow you to pick files from a directory/folder listing)

D) if the mac version of IE 4.5 doesn't have an accessibility property 
sheet, you're going to have to do some investigating of the Internet 
Options slash Properties to discern if there is a similar functionality 
(turning on a personal style sheet) listed under "Fonts" or "Display" or 
something similar (definitely a case where i would cross my fingers, invoke 
the application's help system, and pray that someone responds to this post 
to let us non-mac users know whether or not IE 4.5 for the mac supports 
client-side slash user-defined slash local style sheets

E) if you can turn on support for a local style sheet, email eTrade, and 
ask them for a comprehensive listing of all of the absolute styling 
declarations used in their CGI scripts (basically, they'd need to look for 
any font-size property value that contains the string "pt" or "px"

short of running some sort of transformation utility on the document 
source, i don't know of a way of over-riding absolute sizing using CSS -- 
the CSS accessibility note merely refers to section 15 of the CSS2 spec in 
respect to font sizing, and while i have a few ideas, they would involve a 
bit of work, so i'd like to first find out if you do have support for a 
client side style sheet in IE 4.5, and if not, whether or not dick can tell 
us the state of CSS support in the current beta of MSIE for the mac...  i'm 
also carbon-copying this to charles mccathie-nevile of the w3c and to len 
kasday, who is chair of the evaluation and repair interest group, who may 
be able to shed some more light on this problem...

by the way, if IE 4.5 for the Mac does properly implement CSS, and you do 
have support for style sheets turned on, the BASEFONT declaration in the 
BODY of the page shouldn't stand in the way of the new style cascade, but 
if you want to err on the side of caution (and i'd advise you to do so, 
because i can't visually verify whether or not this is true -- plus, i'm 
using MSIE 5.01 on a Win95 box) you might also want to remove the following 
         <BASEFONT FACE="Arial,Helvetica" SIZE=2>
from the local copy of the document source...

one last thing -- i noted earlier in my comments that the STYLE declaration 
that was causing the font re-sizing problem you reported was quote an 
illegal STYLE declaration...  let me explain...  according to the HTML 4x 
spec, use of the STYLE element is restricted to the HEAD

The STYLE element allows authors to put style sheet rules in the head of 
the document. HTML permits any number of STYLE elements in the HEAD section 
of a document.

(source: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/present/styles.html#edef-STYLE)

the correct way to encode inline styles is to use the <SPAN 
style="property:value;"> syntax, but what eTrade needs to do is:

1. move all illegal STYLE declarations to the HEAD of the document source 
generated by their CGI script
2. not use absolute font-sizing -- refer them to chapter/section 15 of the 
CSS2 specification to illustrate what other options are available to them:

these are serious accessibility and validity problems, which could 
potentially confuse (or crash) a CSS rendering agent...  important enough 
to be brought to the attention of the folks at eTrade...

you might also want to point them to an interesting article on font-sizing 
using CSS, entitled, "Understanding the Em", which is located at:
(which took a really, really long time, for some reason, to load when i 
checked the URI)

and to the "Implementation Advice" portion of Jakob Nielson's article on 
the "Effective Use of Cascading Style Sheets", from his "Alertbox"

in which it is stated, quote
Do not use absolute font sizes; instead specify all text relative to the 
base font size defined by the user's preference setting. For example, large 
text could be defined as "200%", meaning that it would be set as 24 point 
if the user preferred 12 point for body text and 20 point if the user 
preferred 10 point for body text. Whether people prefer large or small 
fonts depends on a variety of questions, including the size and resolution 
of their monitors and the user's eyesight. It is somewhat annoying to visit 
a website where the text is too small for comfortable reading under my 
circumstances, but it is very annoying to click on the "make text bigger" 
button and have nothing happen because the font sizes were defined as an 
absolute number of points.

i hope that this helps to solve your problem, or at least get eTrade's 
coders to think a bit more about defining absolute font sizes...

and, since none of what i've written may help you, as i'm using a Windows 
95B machine upon which i'm running MSIE 5.01 (version 5.00.2919.6307 -- 
update versions: ;q246094;q251109;q240808;) in conjunction with the screen 
reader JAWS for Windows, version 3.5, please respond to all recipients 
(and/or the WAI-IG list) if what i've advised fails to work on a Mac 
running IE 4.5


At 09:51 PM 3/15/00 -0500, Mark Andrew Nassy wrote:
>I am seeking a little advice on a problem I have viewing a web site with a
>macintosh web browser. The problem I am having occurs when I visit a page on
>e-trades web site [1] with ms ie 4.5. I cannot view the material on the page
>because the text is too small for me to read. The default setting for my
>font size is Largest. To work arround the problem I downloaded the page and
>removed the all the <small> </small> tags. This improved the situation and
>made the text barely readable, but at least now I could read the text. The
>new problem now was all the relative links did not work.
>I mentioned the problem by e-mail to e-Trade and provided the details of
>what I did to try and work around the problem.
>The issue as I understand it has to do with the dpi the monitor is set to
>display, or something similar to that. Please correct me if I am wrong.
>Anyway, Wintel computers I think are set to a default 96dpi while Macintosh
>computers use 72dpi. This may translate into trouble when web masters assume
>a default setting of 96dpi.
>I think Wintel users can change their dpi in the Monitors control panel. I
>assume changing it from the default (small fonts?) to a custom setting of 72
>dpi should reproduce the problem, correct? I am unaware of anyway to change
>the dpi setting on a macintosh computer (without probably having to use any
>3rd party software).
>I referred them to w3 [2] as a source for more information on the problem.
>In response, they suggested that the problem did not lie with their code,
>and that I should increase the size of my font in my web browser. I rewrote
>them and mentioned that that did not solve the problem and explained the
>possible source of the problem to them again. They then responded with a
>message indicating I should: (1) visit the online help center for
>instructions on how to navigate, or (2) call a toll free number for help. I
>plan to call the toll free number.
>Should there not be a resolution to the problem, short of closing my
>account, is their anything someone here can suggest I can do to view the
>page or similar pages?
>Thanks for any suggestions in advance.
>[2] <URI:http://www.w3.org/>
>Mark Andrew Nassy, <URI:mailto:nassy@mac.com>

ACCOUNTABILITY, n.  The mother of caution.
                         -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devil's Dictionary_
Gregory J. Rosmaita      <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura           <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html>
VICUG NYC                <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/>
Read 'Em & Speak         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/>
Received on Friday, 17 March 2000 17:41:57 UTC

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