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RE: inaccessible site due to css [was: Re: Politics: Strict Guidelines Considered Harmful]

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 01:46:04 -0800
To: "'Chris Croome'" <chris@webarchitects.co.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001301c06a69$ac3a5bf0$0100a8c0@aries>
Bailey, Bruce wrote:
"Can you cite one real-world reference where valid CSS was used but the
results decreased acessibility?"

Chris Croome replied:
"I'm sorry to say that I can :-(

"The AltaVista help pages:"

http://doc.altavista.com/adv_search/ast_haw_index.html

Inaccessible because of CSS? I think not.

What we have here is a great example of the dangers of using deprecated
elements and attributes mixed with CSS. This is exactly what some are
arguing for, though I'm sure they weren't arguing for this result.

True, the designers erred by not using relative sizes. If they'd been really
interested in accessibility, they would have used the WCAG guidelines and
there wouldn't have been a problem with legibility.

Even as it stands, however, if the problem was with CSS, so what? Turn it
off.

Then you'll see the real problem. They didn't do their homework. In
Navigator 4 with CSS off the links on the left side of the page are
illegible: blue on blue. But guess what! That's exactly how it looks in
Netscape 3 all the time! So if the page is inaccessible in Netscape 3, how
is that CSS's fault?

Had they used XHTML strict and validated their code, this would have been
impossible. Then the small font size on Netscape for Linux (obviously, they
didn't test with that either) would still exist, but turn of the style sheet
and the page would be usable.

Now, I don't mean to dismiss this as not really a problem. I'm sure that
lot's of people don't know how to turn off their browser's CSS. But this
isn't really an accessibility issue, it's a cross-browser compatibility
issue. Most people are going to find this site unusable in either Netscape 3
or Netscape 4 for Linux, not just those with disabilities. Alta Vista was
using bastardized code and didn't bother to test properly. Shame on them.

Charles F. Munat
Received on Wednesday, 20 December 2000 04:40:05 GMT

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