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RE: Politics: Strict Guidelines Considered Harmful

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 10:11:18 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 05:44 AM 12/19/2000 , Bailey, Bruce wrote:
>Very clever Kynn, but quite disingenuous.
>(1)  CSS is formal and can be validated.  That gives it quite a measure of
>authority and mitigates against its abuse.  (This is also a small barrier to
>its initial use since there is something new to learn.)

But <font> can be validated as well.

>(2)  Most of use have seen sites that were inaccessible because of the use
>of <font> and the like.  Can you cite one real-world reference where valid
>CSS was used but the results decreased accessibility?

Oh, god yes, I've seen some real nightmares out there which use CSS
but which are completely unusable in any browser save for one.  My
wife routinely receives "newsletters" from one of Idyll Mountain
Internet's clients, which are meant to be used on the web.  These
use CSS extensively because it is autogenerated by some WYSIWYG
editor, but I have yet to find any of it that looks decent in more
than just one browser, and sometimes not even then!

One common problem with the WYSIWYG tools was the use of valid
CSS positioning attributes in order to lay out an advertisement
which, when linearized, was completely scrambled and out of order.
If <font> had been used instead of CSS, this would not have happened,
since at its WORST, HTML/<font> technique gives you something which
is _sorta_ related to the order in which it appears; CSS-P has no
such guarantee and the ad was all messed up.

I know myself that by using valid CSS on the HTML Writers Guild
page, I made the site _completely inaccessible_ to users of certain
browsers -- valid HTML crashed on Netscape 4.01/4.02, and it displayed
white text on white background in IE 3.

Those are real world examples where the use of CSS decreased 

>All that said, I still think
>validated HTML plus CSS is still the best way to serve these customers and
>modern clients simultaneously.

I don't disagree with you, but I believe that just as you were able
to make this choice, so should other informed web designers who know
their audiences and their resources be able to make the same choices
for themselves.

This is a "states rights" issue. :)

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                    http://kynn.com/
Director of Accessibility, Edapta               http://www.edapta.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://www.idyllmtn.com/
AWARE Center Director                      http://www.awarecenter.org/
What's on my bookshelf?                         http://kynn.com/books/
Received on Tuesday, 19 December 2000 13:50:03 UTC

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