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RE: Using em or percent for properties that need to change

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 12:19:26 -0400
To: "'Andy Budd'" <andy@message.uk.com>, "'W'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <009701c48475$f88a4db0$6601a8c0@bosshog>

> I've discussed this issue on various accessibility, usability and web 
> design forums/mailing lists and all I get is personal bias. What I'm 
> interested in is hearing what the official WAI line is.


There is no "official" line.  The WAI guidelines are guidelines, plain
and simple.  However, methinks that you are arguing for a point of view,
which is being rebutted from all corners.

Let's take it back to basics:  HTML for content, CSS for presentation.
If you truly separate the two, you will be going a long way in providing
accessible content. But, by the same token, if you start to ham-string
your CSS with fixed values, etc., then "in my opinion" you are stepping
backwards, not forwards. 

The initially envisioned idea for HTML was to allow the user agent to
format the content and "display" the information to the end user in the
way that the end user was accustomed to receiving text based
information.  Semantic markup was the key.

Then along came the designers with their Photoshop(tm) visions and
nearly broke the web with tables based layouts and kludges and hacks...
We all know the history.  Then the backlash, the emergence of Standards
Evangelists (Zeldman anybody?), and a closer look at how we were
achieving things.  Now, we have developers/designers who are trying to
achieve both visual display and semantic markup.  Good!

But the accessibility argument/advocates will argue that, given a "draw"
or area of ambiguity, better to ere on the side of accessibility.  Yes,
this is opinion, but opinion based upon experience, understanding,
perhaps personal knowledge and/or perspective.  


So if you want to do something, and feel that you can justify it from an
accessibility perspective and you want to claim AAA compliance, there is
really no one person or organization which can refute or condemn your
opinion, as it is just that, opinion.  However, if you choose to ignore
the suggestions, opinions and perspectives of the majority of people who
actively involve themselves in this arena, don't be surprised if you
will get debate.  Much of it will appear to you to be subjective or
biased, but that's the nature of the Guidelines... They open themselves
to interpretation.  At the same time, there does appear to be an
emerging consensus on a number of issues; should you choose to ignore
that consensus you *may* find it harder and harder to claim conformance
and be able to defend it, as the body of consensus will be "agin ya"

Rambling thoughts and opinions all.

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America) 
Received on Tuesday, 17 August 2004 16:19:32 UTC

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