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

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 12:36:33 -0400
Message-Id: <a0611048ebd4933508ba7@[]>
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

>There is no "official" line. The WAI guidelines are guidelines, 
>plain and simple.

And maybe someday WAI will have the guts to actually ban certain 
practices. It will certainly recommend practices. Both kinds of 
recommendations constitute an official line.

>Let's take it back to basics: HTML for content, CSS for presentation.

The two are not always entirely separable, but yes.

>  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.

That's crapola and is typical of the inconsistency of WCAG WG. I give 
you perfect structural (X)HTML and my own preferred rendering. If I'm 
particularly sensitive, I provide alternate renderings, too. If you 
don't like those renderings, come up with your own. That's the 
principle of the cascade.

You can do that the hard way through user stylesheets, or your 
well-designed, UAAG-compliant browser can do it for you.

What John seems to be advocating is that authors never, ever take a 
stand that the WCAG WG orthodoxy disapproves of. Since the Working 
Group was only recently disabused of its notion that px is an 
absolute unit, having failed to read the W3C's own specs and think 
rationally for a moment, of course John is going to suggest that 
authors should never use "fixed" values. "Never" is a hell of a long 
time, though.

At some point the Working Group will come to grips with the fact that 
it has been left in the dust by standardistas (almost all of them 
bloggers) who create sites with valid code that meet or exceed WCAG 
1.0 *and also look nice*. Some of the time, these developers may make 
an informed decision to use evil fixed units. That's their decision.

At the very worst, all they could be expected to do is to provide an 
alternate stylesheet, which is pretty simple. Beyond that, it's not 
their problem anymore. It's yours-- and you have to solve it with 
your own CSS or user agent.

I mean, for heaven's sake, Adrian Holovaty came up with a Firefox 
extension to make allmusic.com behave in a halfway-sane manner.


And that's a *radical* case. If we're talking about line-height and 
font-size and color and background-color, it's a piece o' cake. 
Obviously the user and the user agent have to bear some 

>But the accessibility argument/advocates will argue that, given a 
>"draw" or area of ambiguity, better to err on the side of 

Where you can prove it's truly an accessibility issue and where it's 
the author's problem in the first place, sure.

>Yes, this is opinion, but opinion based upon experience, 
>understanding, perhaps personal knowledge and/or perspective.

Oh? Aren't we writing them? What was WCAG 1.0? (What about HTML and 
CSS Techniques for WCAG 1.0?)

>However, if you choose to ignore the suggestions, opinions and 
>perspectives of the majority of people who actively involve 
>themselves in this arena,

half of whom are wrong a lot of the time,

>  don't be surprised if you will get debate. [...] At the same time, 
>there does appear to be an emerging consensus on a number of issues

created by a politburo that knows little about the real Web and, 
apparently, hates it.

And John will now ritually send me one of his E-mails asking if it's 
really wise to be such a bitch on the list.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Wednesday, 18 August 2004 17:42:49 UTC

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