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Re: User customization using a style sheet switcher and server side scripts.

From: Jim Byrne <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 14:48:16 +0000
To: W3c_Access <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BBCEBE30.205B4%j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Tina,

Re: <cite> tag.
Thanks for the reminder.

Re: Users can adjust their browser preferences.
In general yes this is true, as I have mentioned in the article - but I can
see that this should necessarily mean that style switchers are a bad idea.

Creating a page designed to explain to visitors that they can change the
preferences in their browser isn't necessarily a simple a task - as there
are so many browsers - and they all work differently.  It might be the right
solutions - but it might not be the most 'usable' solution.  Assuming a
visitor clicks the link to read the page, they still have to find the
instructions for their particular browser (all this could take a bit of
time). Changing browser preferences is not always the most intuitive of
tasks.

This style switcher provides an additional option for changing the
presentation of the page - which doesn't stop users from making changes in
their browser preferences. In other words - it offers another way to
altering the presentation of the page, without breaking anything that
already exists. 

Also - and I think this is important - some browsers don't allow users
change their preferences in a way that suits their particular needs. For
example, I created a website for an organisation, whose employees used IE 6
on their Win 2000 computers - and the browser itself turned out to be a
problem.  the Director of the organisation had a visual impairment and
wanted the text on their new website to be much larger than the largest size
available via the browser preferences. It was not possible to use the
browser preferences to change the  text to a size that was useful for that
particular user; I discussed the problem on this list at the time - but
there were no solutions based on changing IE 6 preferences.

I solved that particular problem by creating a style sheet just for that
person; the size and colour was set to best for them. If I had thought of
this style sheets switcher then, it would have been very useful; creating a
different style sheet for each user that comes up against this same problem
is not a workable solution. A user can create their own style sheet - but
not everybody knows how to do it.


All the best,
Jim




on 11/5/03 12:25 PM, tina@greytower.net at tina@greytower.net wrote:

  Nice site. May I, please, ask you to include the CITE attribute for
  quotations which are to be found online ? It's really difficult
  to peck around the text for the original otherwise. Thanks!



> I would interested to know if there are reasons why this approach might not
> be a good idea? 

  The reliance on cookies and the caching problem both seem to me good
  reasons. However, for me and people I have discussed this issue with,
  the main reason not to recommend this is quite different, and a matter
  of social engineering.

  Consider a user visiting such a site. Firstly, the UA must be capable
  of CSS, of cookies, and of adjusting the *visual* interface through
  CSS. 

  Secondly, the adjustment controls will be present whether or not your
  UA has these capabilities or not.

  Thirdly, the adjustments you make are not persistent - as soon as you
  leave that particular site, they go away.

  Users I've spoken to would much prefer a short tutorial on how to
  change their own settings to a site-specific control system.

  But is this a drawback ? I'd say yes.

  Users don't know how to adjust their UA - so tell them how. That will
  atleast confuse them less.





> You can also read Gez Lemons' article and the get the scripts for his ASP
> version at: http://www.juicystudio.com/

  This site pushes several of my buttons. Firstly, it claims to serve
  text/html[*] - I'm looking at the content-type here - but the DOCTYPE
  claims XHTML 1.0 Strict and the *content* claims it is validated to
  XHTML 1.1. 

  Secondly, it claims WCAG 1.0 'AAA' - which, if nothing else, the link
  texts should make clear it is not. When I look through the list of
  links in my UA, I can make neither head nor tail out of "1".

  I think we should all try to be examples. Please ?



 [*] 
  We also need to improve our site in this, and many other, ways. That
  project is nearing completion.
Received on Wednesday, 5 November 2003 09:48:44 GMT

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