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Re: [css3-images] Summary of recent gradient issues

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 13:31:37 -0700
Message-ID: <BANLkTimDwpUUhc+mqQJM0RD066ag-MvynFmJh2+PwMzD7cygQQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Simon Fraser <smfr@me.com>
Cc: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM, Simon Fraser <smfr@me.com> wrote:
> This confusion of starting point vs. angle is specious.

I know you recently did a Twitter poll to gauge thoughts on the
matter.  I conducted my own and got substantially different results.
I believe this is because of the way are two questions were worded.

Yours was "Straw poll: if you see linear-gradient(left, black, white),
do you think "starts at the left", or "ends at the left"?".  Mine was
"Poll: Given that 0deg points up, do you expect
linear-grad(bottom,black,white) and linear-grad(0deg,black,white) to
be the same or opposite?".  Hopefully you'd agree that my question
wasn't leading, but it was intended to explicitly hit the "Are these
consistent when considered together?" angle.  I also posted the same
question with 'top' instead of bottom, so people could answer that one
if they felt stronger about it.  (I can tell who responded to what by
seeing which they replied to.)  I also posted a followup tweet
specifying that I was specifically looking for feedback from people
who hadn't yet used CSS gradients much or at all (I know that your
poll received at least a few answers from people who were very
familiar with current CSS gradients).

I received a total of 14 responses from Twitter, and 2 privately:

* 2 people thought that 'bottom' and '0deg' were the same (current WD)
* 12 people thought that 'top' and '0deg' were the same (current ED)
* 2 people thought that 'top' and '0deg' were the same, but that they
both pointed down (opposite of current ED)

(I wonder what the result would have been if I said "0deg goes from
bottom to top".  I suspect that would have shifted it at least
somewhat more towards current WD.)

So, from comparing your survey results and mine, we can learn a few things:

1. Thought of by themselves, the keywords make people think of
starting position.

2. In concert with angles, the keywords make people thing of ending position.

3. By themselves or in concert with keywords, angles make people
either think of the gradient direction or the ending position (it's
difficult to tell which one most people are thinking of, as they
produce the same conclusions).

So, I think the main conclusion we can draw from this is that the
keywords are confusing when contrasted with angles, while angles are
pretty universally understood in any context (at least once people
learn which direction the angles are facing, and we've already
established that the current text matches most people's
preconceptions).

This leans me more strongly towards either dropping keywords entirely
and using one of the angle-only solutions (1, 2, or 3 in the OP), or
switching to keywords that are unambiguously directions
(upwards/rightwards/uprightwards?)

~TJ

PS: I find my own trajectory on this matter interesting.  I initially
didn't want angle gradients at all, preferring gradients with explicit
start and end points, and only added them because Brad insisted.  As I
gradually simplified the position-based gradients, I came to like
angle-based more and more.  Now I'm strongly considering dropping
positions entirely.
Received on Thursday, 16 June 2011 20:32:25 GMT

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