W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2003

Re: Color: auto, or colour fallbacks

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 21:35:35 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200307072035.h67KZZ501269@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> I'm not seeing how what you're proposing:

A way of allowing a half way house between the author completely controls
colour and the user completely controls it, allowing me to turn author
colours back on.

> color: auto
> would be any more effective than:
> color: #00f !important;

Once you start specifying fixed colours, you are forced to specify all
of them, or customise for particular parts of sites (down to indvidual
divisions on a single page).

Specifically, it would work when the author had:

background-color: #00f   or
:link { color: #00f; }    or
:visited { color: #00f; }   etc.

without one having to specify explicit colours for all of those (which
is what happens now if you use the IE accessibiliity options on colours).

> The user may have multiple stylesheets of their own which they may
.... switch in for Accessibility's sake depending on the site. Negotiations

I would consider disabling visited link distinctions a usability issue,
as much as an accessibility one.

.... finer to this ought to be features of varying User Agents

Whilst it might be desirable, it will tend to become unworkable.
Certainly very few people would do it as explicit style sheets (which
would be needed to work at the division level), and even if did it using
an HCI that fronted the (possibly conceptual) style sheet, you would
have to be very committed to a site to do anything more than flag it
for a total colour override.

Even if you had a button which basically said "I don't like the colour policy
for this domain name, ignore all its colours in future", that doesn't cope
with  the case where you are perfectly willing to accept most authors' 
colours with one, specific, exception that you want visited links to always 
be distinguishable from unvisited ones.  The proposal allows one to
specify a policy to the browser that it must vary the colour of a visited
link to be distinct from that of an un-visited one, without having to 
know, beforehand, what colours will be used for normal text, background and
unvisited links.   (Domains names are too coarse for some site hosting
companies, but probably the best that can be done with a single click 

Moreover, one may well find that one wnnts to disable colours so often
on once visited sites, that it is simply easier to turn off colours
altogether, in which case, you will never know that a site uses them
in a way that makes the site more usable, and will never selectively
re-enable them.

Some sites that might prompt a global disable colours policy may make
the mistake of using colours as the only distinction between two things
(quite a common mistake).  With automated selection of colours to 
cope with poor contrast and hiding of information, you will still have
a chance of seeing that colour coding.
Received on Monday, 7 July 2003 16:44:57 UTC

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