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Re: When reviewing a site with CSS disabled, "sea of white" appears: is this a real accessibility issue?

From: Taliesin Smith <talilief@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:43:45 -0330
Message-ID: <CABu36yHwu=1UqDo4GHznPAv==v=yDqEQGE4N81=RBOk03RU3rA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Andy Keyworth <akeyworth@tbase.com>
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Andy,
Without an example, it is hard to know for certain what the sea of white
represents. It could be that the designer forgot to explicitly set a
default text color (color: #000000; or something similar). It could be that
the sea of white is white text on a white background. This text would still
be visible to screen reader users, but certainly not to users with low

There may be other reasons for the sea of white. It could be a design image
that is being brought in through the background property.

I find turning off CSS to be a good technique to get an understanding of
the underlying structure of the page.

The seas of white would need further investigation to know for sure if they
represent missed content or potential barriers to AT.


On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM, Andy Keyworth <akeyworth@tbase.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> When I was trained to do web accessibility testing, one thing I was
> directed to do was to disable CSS and review the page to observe how it
> linearizes. But I was also informed that if large white spaces  (“seas of
> white”) appeared in this view, that was an accessibility failure because it
> impacted users who needed this view to compensate for low vision. I have
> more or less accepted this on faith, but wanted to solicit your advice on
> whether this assumption is correct. I find quite often that seas of white
> appear because social media features, which in an CSS-enabled display are
> quite small, in fact import a page from the social media, and the effect is
> to render what would otherwise be “invisible” content” into white space in
> CSS-disabled view.
> Andy Keyworth
Received on Friday, 28 November 2014 23:14:12 UTC

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