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Re: Color coding

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 01:28:57 +0100
Message-ID: <4B7B3849.5060606@ramoncorominas.com>
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
CC: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hello, Phil and all.

I totally disagree with any solution that transfers the responsbility 
for web accessibility to the end-user side.

While I agree with the part where User Agents should provide methods and 
solutions for some of the problems, we should not rely on the user's 
ability to configure settings, build style sheets or any other more or 
less complicated task, even with basic or advanced training. Of course 
there are some solutions that are better than others, but if we don't 
provide solutions thinking that the user will be able to configure the 
browser or install a plugin or anyhing else, we for sure will leave many 
users apart. We simply don't know if our assumptions about users' 
knowledge will be true. For example, a friend of mine that has also 
retinitis pigmentosa doesn't know how to configure most of the browser 
settings that he usually would need to use the Web. I explained him many 
times, but he explained me that he is not a technician and so he always 
forgets these kind of things. If he buys a new computer, he will need 
help again to configure the system. And don't forget that to make 
changes to a particular setting the user needs first to find his/her way 
to that setting (for example, when I bought a Mac, that has lots of 
built-in accessibility features, I needed about an hour to find my way 
to the "invert colours" setting, because my low vision made it very 
difficult to locate the right icons, texts, and so on).

We can, of course, make some reasonable assumptions about some types of 
users (for example, a blind user will probably use some kind of screen 
reader software), in the same way that we assume that a user that 
browses the Web will probably have some kind of Internet connection and 
Web browser (wink). We can then study these situations and try to cover 
the default situation where most users will be, because we learned from 
many user tests that many users don't know a word about "hidden" 
settings or browser configuration. It's a pity, but it's the Real World 

Anyway, for this particular "new window" case, my recommendation is:

1. Do not open new windows. It is still considered bad practice and has 
no -demonstrated- advantage.
2. If you MUST do it, inform the user. Any user.
- For screen reader users, an icon with alt or a hidden text would be 
- For mouse-visual users, a title with the text of the link and the 
warning would be enough.
- For keyboard users, CSS :focus class can be used to present the 
information in a way similar to the title.
3. If you can make the assumption that JavaScript must be enabled to 
allow new windows, add the behaviour
using the onLoad event and non-obtrusive JS, and at the same time add 
the clues for the different types of users.

Best regards,

Phill Jenkins wrote:
> Sounds to me like a classic problem with the user agent and/or end 
> user settings.
Received on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:29:29 UTC

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