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color issue regarding separation of presentation and content

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 20:47:09 +0100
Message-ID: <3DB459BD.3020700@btinternet.com>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

As many of you will know, it is possible to get the wrong end of the stick.

The idea of not just using colour to convey information has some 
validity, as does that of separating content from presentation.

However, using DHTML, eg CSS, (x)html and client-side javascript, it 
does not currently seem to have been imagined that authors or users 
might wish to colour areas which are 'content free'*. This has been 
known as 'white space' but  also might usefully represent such concepts 
as distance, or location.

given that for many of my visitors, this may be (one of) their primary 
means of expression, this is sadly negligent.

www-style has been asked for a method, but there seems to be agreement** 
that CSS was not designed to do this.
Does anyone have useful comments on this issue?


I'm currently working on a (dhtml) 'feedback' project to let our users 
draw images to describe their interests, these will then be mailed, with 
a single click. http://www.peepo.com/alfy/feedback.html is a partially 
succesful demo.

*ie without using an img src, or text.

** workarounds are along the following lines, this seems exceptionally 

<style type="text/css">
    padding : 4em 3em;
    background-color: #ffffff;
  .purple {
    padding : 4em 3em;
    background-color: #990099;
<body bgcolor="#cccccc">

<p><span title="white area" class="white"></span>
<span title="Purple area" class="purple"></span></p>

Received on Monday, 21 October 2002 15:47:12 UTC

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