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

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 12:23:40 -0400
To: "'Joe Clark'" <joeclark@joeclark.org>, "'WAI-IG'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002301c48608$e5b0dc10$6601a8c0@bosshog>

Joe Clark wrote:
>> 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.

We are in agreement (sorta)

>> Let's take it back to basics: HTML for content, CSS for presentation.
> The two are not always entirely separable, but yes.

Wow, twice in the same posting

>> 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.

No argument in principle... But as many on this list (including
yourself) have indicated, most users are unaware of the capacity of
their current browsers.  Thus, I opinion that to respect the true spirit
of Universal Accessibility that your primary style sheet not use fixed

I question why my opinion is "crapola" and yours is golden.

> 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, 

(see: http://www.wats.ca/articles/pixelsarerelative/65)

> 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. 

Uhm, no Joe, only that this is what the WCAG states: "3.4 Use relative
rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style
sheet property values."

Do what you want.  But if you are "MANDATED" to conform to these
Guidelines, then yes, I would say "never", 'cause I don't have problems
reading English.  This may seem old fashioned or "orthodox" to you, but
are you prepared to be responsible if/when an organization or government
is sued over inaccessible web sites.  It may be splitting hairs, but
isn't that what courts do?

Joe, I never claimed that the WCAG guidelines are perfect.. They aren't.
I further have stated on numerous occasions that the real problem is
that policy wonks took the WCAG Guidelines and "made" them Standards
(with a wave of their wand), without really reading them.  Standards
are/should be normative... Guidelines are just that, guidelines -
subject to interpretation.  Now we have a group of developers who are
obligated to use subjective guidelines as definitive standards...
Something that is truly unfair to them.  

> 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*. 

WCAG A, AA, or AAA?  Big difference between the levels - a point you
fail to mention.  Show me a blog that conforms to AAA - go ahead.

> Some of the time, these developers may make
> an informed decision to use evil fixed units. That's their decision.

Precisely, a point I have never argued.  However, don't do one thing,
say you are doing another, and then smugly claim compliance.  If authors
wish to create their documents to the "Joe Clark Accessibility Bible",
they are fee to do so... Heck perhaps there should be another
button/icon, forget "Bobby", get a "Joey"!


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


Standard:  An acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or
qualitative value; a criterion. (www.dictionary.com)
Guideline: A statement or other indication of policy or procedure by
which to determine a course of action. (www.dictionary.com)

One measures, the other instructs.  English 101.

>> 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,

Hmmm... Which half are you in Joe?

>>  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. 

Alternate Ending:
...created by a body of developers who must deliver to mandated
standards that were never written in the language of standards.  They
apply consensus, logic and conservatism to their decisions, as failing
to deliver to the "spirit" of the (flawed) legislation may face very
real financial and political consequences.

> 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.

No need, Joe, really.  Everybody can see for themselves...

Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 16:23:50 UTC

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