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RE: Inline Style Sheet Question

From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt <ejp10@psu.edu>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2005 10:30:45 -0400
Message-Id: <p06020400be79a07f2baa@[]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

>If there is a style in the author's style sheet that just makes the font
>red, for example:
>	.red {
>		Color: red;
>	}
>Then I must have that same class defined in my user-defined style sheet?
>If this is the case, is there a way to get around it?  How is a visually
>impaired user supposed to know what additional styles to use for each
>web site they go to?

My take on this issue is that the same critical information must be 
delivered in both an visual channel and an audio channel.

To take a case of red text, I suspect that the "message" in most case 
is that this is really, really important (like a cautionary note). 
This is usually equivalent to the <strong> tag which is visually 
represented as bold and aurally as loud/emphatic pronunciation.

So in that case, I would define the <strong> tag to be red.

	strong {color: red; font-weight:bold}

Visual users will see bold and red text, and screen reader users will 
hear a change in the way the text is read. For screen readers, the 
color is irrelevant - it's the EMPHASIS that's important.

That's one reason why it's usually better to redefine a tag with 
styles whenever possible rather than creating custom classes.

If you are using red coloring for decorative purposes, then you 
really don't have to tell screen reader users anything. The consensus 
seems to be that they are happy to skip over hearing about the visual 
formatting details.


P.S. Some color blind users cannot distinguish red from black, so if 
the distinction is important, I would supplement red text with visual 

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Education Technology Services, TLT/ITS
Penn State University
ejp10@psu.edu, (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building II
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA   16801-4819
Received on Wednesday, 6 April 2005 15:16:48 UTC

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