W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2005

Re: [css3-ui] Problems with :read-only and :read-write

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 09:48:34 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c801050803064836ed718c@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

On 8/3/05, Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl> wrote:
> Orion Adrian schreef:
> > I'm not asking for everything to look the same. Theme capabilities
> > exist in almost every OS on the market and dozens of applications.
> Per-application theming? And how many people are actually using that?
> The number of people I know that have themed their Windows OS beyond the
> default 'classic' and 'teletubby' themes is minimal.
> Additionally, styling of websites often reflect the product and the
> brand. How can the OS know what kind of product you are using, and what
> theme it should apply, and how to do proper branding? Specifying a theme
> manually for every application sure would be bothersome...
> This is nonsense, you *are* asking for everything to look the same (just
> not on every computer, perhaps, for the few who do it differently).

Applications that I use or have used that allow theming:

Trillian, AIM, MSN Messenger, IE, Mozilla, WinAmp. Some of them might
ring a bell.

As for OS themes they can differ on semantic category. Trust me when I
say that letting the OS do the theming doesn't hurt creativity or
appearance. It does help usability though. If I want things to look
different a lot, I can change my OS theme all I want.

Also you can brand you product without forcing your bad design down my
throat. And you can do it without incorporating your branding into the

I'm also not sure why we're in the business of protecting the rights
of web designers and not the population at large.

And finally on this point, there will always be the capability of
theming your page and the environment without harming the user, but
you have to give away the ability to control every little thing. Since
CSS is about providing hints, that shouldn't be too much to ask right?

> > A unifed system wouldn't be bad and CSS would have a place there in
> > styling documents on the system. And while you state you like the fact
> > that web sites look different, they also act differently and that is a
> > problem. Links end up different colors, text ends up too small or too
> > big or an unreadable font and rather than making it totally controlled
> > by the web author, I thought it would be nice not to tick off the
> > masses.
> The thing is, this will take care of its own. Sites which are unusable
> will get less visitors. That *is* an incentive to do things better.

Sites that are unusable for the disabled user will get fewer disabled
users, but they won't lose people who are completely sighted who don't
care about semantics. So I'm not really seeing the market forces
you're talking about. This is not a problem that will solve itself on
that end.
> Additionally, there are better ways to improve this situation than
> bluntly disallowing page authors to use CSS at all. Things like setting
> minimum font sizes, overriding link colours with custom colours
> (automatically selecting the colour with the most contrast), etc.
> Educating website authors is an important as well, and I think that is
> going well nowadays.
> I do not have much problems with web sites, and for the ones where I do,
> I simply don't visit or I e.g. increase the font size to make them more
> legible.

Education isnt' the answer. It's an answer, but it's an immense amount
of work. Why not just improve the language so that it's accessible by
As to your second point, some people don't have an option to the site
they go to, especially if its work related. Also web designers don't
always have complete authority and we're not talking about educating
just the web designers in usability but also educating the managers on
the benefits of it. Why make the battle such an uphill one?

<snip />

> > The issue at hand is that yes there's a lot of people invented in HTML
> > and a lot of people invested in CSS and Javascript and XML. They will
> > continue down the path of HTML/CSS/Javascript long after it proves to
> > have been a bad idea. Why? Because people go with what they know. So I
> > seek change in the most effective manner I can. Whatever is decided
> > here will be implemented by some if not most no matter how good it is
> > until it is shown that there is a much better way.
> But CSS + HTML has been around for a long time now. Surely if there was
> a better way, people would know about it by now...

I can assure that history tells us no to that answer. People don't
start at the best solution. They usually get stuck in a mode of
thinking until another mode of thinking becomes popular. We certainly
didn't start in OO land or PME land. We started in assembler and C.

> Also, I think that you are not giving the people a lot of credit here.
> Apparantly, you seem to have seen the light, and everyone else are just
> sheep who blindly follow what they are told?

No, I figure they're people with better things to do. Maybe they just
want a peak at what's going on. Maybe they just want to comment on
their pet suggestion or what matters to them. Maybe they don't have an
opinion on it. Maybe they don't understand it. I don't seek motives
for other people's actions; they're usually apparent in time.

> > This is what I'm talking about. There are a lot of websites out there
> > that if you turn off CSS, they stop working. Not all, but a lot. There
> > are even more websites that stop working if you turn off Javascript.
> > But either way, they stop working. CSS has been interwoven into the UI
> > above and beyond the document itself. So I'd love to be able to
> > completely override it, but I can't. Why? Because of the way it was
> > designed and the way it's being used. Hopefully you understand my
> > frustration.
> That is the fault of the website author then, which doesn't use semantic
> markup. If he does, even when he uses a number of <div> elements for
> styling purposes, there should be no problem.

We're blaming the website author for not doing what we're telling him
to do. And as a website author, I say, make the damned language
accessible by default. Is it not naive to assume the greater
population will care? Fix it where it can do the most good. If you
make CSS accessible by default it gets them all and we don't have to
educate the populace or wait for them to all get on board. A few dozen
people here can change the language and that will affect millions of
designers. That's why I'm here and not trying to preach to the
designers (which I do anyways when I can).
> No matter what language you invent, there is no way to stop some authors
> from using <p class="heading">Title</p> instead of <h1>Title</h1>.
> Well, there is, if you take the styling entirely out of the hands of the
> authors so that <p> can simply never be made to look like a heading
> (which I guess is what you're saying). But if you do that, in my opinion
> you sacrifice much much more than what you gain.

What do I sacrifice? In my mind I sacrifice nothing, but I have a much
more complete picture of the solution than has been presented here.
> And I certainly think that there are better ways to fix those problem
> sites, as mentioned before, such as by educating website authors about
> semantics.

Educating a larger body over a smaller body seems to be much more work
and not a particularly effective solution. How is it going so far? Can
you claim even 50% of websites using CSS?


Orion Adrian
Received on Wednesday, 3 August 2005 13:48:42 UTC

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