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Re: Key bindings... (user agents - was accesskey was ...)

From: Geoff Deering <geoff@deering.id.au>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 13:51:21 +1100
Message-ID: <43C5C429.6010308@deering.id.au>
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>

Orion Adrian wrote:

>On 1/11/06, Geoff Deering <geoff@deering.id.au> wrote:
>  
>
>>Orion Adrian wrote:
>>
>>    
>>
>>>Funny. I feel the same way about formatting and layout. I'm wishing
>>>for a world where content authors simply write and the browsers do all
>>>the layout and formatting. My question is, why doesn't the same
>>>philosophy apply towards formatting and layout?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>I think there is some middle path intended.  That is why there is
>>separation between structure of the document and presentation.  Users
>>should also be able to apply their own style sheets (in principle).
>>    
>>
>
>The complexities involved in specifying your own stylesheet pretty
>much make this impossible. Pretty much your only option is either turn
>on stylesheets or turn off stylesheets. Simply look at the number of
>designs that break if you changes any of the following properties:
>
>border
>margin
>padding
>float
>clear
>position
>left
>right
>top
>bottom
>font
>width
>height
>overflow
>display
>
>This inflexibility is due to the fact that many designs work only
>because the above properties have been carefully architected to work
>together in a particular design. Change the width of a div and things
>may totally break. Change the font-size and you may have overflow
>problems.
>
>And even if it were possible to make the changes in a generic way that
>didn't totally obliterate all designs, it would require such an
>advanced knowledge and understanding of CSS that it would be limited
>to only the very technically advanced.
>
>In other words, reality strikes again.
>
>--
>
>Orion Adrian
>
>  
>

Hi Orion,

I think it's always a good idea to keep posts on list so everyone can 
learn and join in, especially in this case, as what you are saying to 
me, seems to be quite a valid point.  And I think anyone who has thought 
about this issue can see the problem you raise.

I think, if there are any sites that are marked up in CSS out there with 
only elements as selectors, without IDs or CLASSs, they would be quite 
rare.  Most designers use these selectors to give power to their design 
implementation.

There are two things that I can see to also consider.

1) User agents should be able to manage custom configuration of both the 
CSS hierarchy as well as the DOM hierarchy.  They have to raise their 
game to that level.  This may not completely solve the problem, but it 
should at least give the user more power to customise their experience, 
whilst at the same time not limiting the designer.

2) My second point is that web accessibility designers should not only 
understand WCAG, but they should understand the fundamental issues when 
designing for human computer interfaces so that their designs reflect 
the best interfaces for human interaction.  So to make a general point, 
a site designed properly by a web accessibility professional, using CSS, 
with whatever selectors they deem fit *should* offer a better interface 
to the majority of users, better than those with CSS turned off, and 
probably better than most custom CSSs, in most cases.

If you manage to run a successful web accessibility business trying to 
design using only elements as selectors, let me know, I'd like to learn how.

---------------------
Geoff Deering
Received on Thursday, 12 January 2006 02:51:22 GMT

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