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Re: Alternative Style Sheets

From: Antony Kennedy <antony@silversquid.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 11:22:14 +0100
Cc: www-style@gtalbot.org, Dirk Schulze <dschulze@adobe.com>, W3C www-style mailing list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-Id: <F4B7C0B2-28D1-48C2-BF54-24E0B90869F2@silversquid.com>
To: Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch>
Agree.

So, my overall points:

1) Sometimes design and business requirements exclude users or accessibility concerns. Alternate stylesheets provide a clever alternative.

2) Although it is possible to create a website that satisfies (nearly) all WCAG guidelines, and allows text resizing and is friendly to user stylesheets etc, this can be constrictive to design and not everyone is technical enough to fix these things (nor should they have to be). I'm not saying this is a best-case scenario – we should code to guidelines whenever possible – but in the real world, brand guidelines and design/client requirements do not always make this possible.

3) To Gérard's point, yes it is possible to make a design that satisfies WCAG guidelines. My point was, this does not necessarily satisfy *user* requirements. Some users (like those with particular kinds of dyslexia) find high contrast designs hard to read. Or white backgrounds' glare obstructs their view of the black text - even though this is at maximum contrast. There is  simply not one stylesheet that will satisfy every user, and tools are not yet good enough to solve all of the problems for us without making the website hideous or illegible.

4) If an author wants to make multiple versions of a stylesheet for their website, for different colour schemes just as different designs (like the football club example given previously) why would we not make it easy for the author to do this? Sure, authors can abuse it, but they can abuse everything they are given. We have to give them the option to be altruistic.

5) Whenever there is a use case that is prolific in being hacked around, this is always a perfect opportunity for standardisation (seriously, when will I have to stop writing JS to get text-overflow:ellipsis; to work over multiple lines?). I see often websites with an option for different colour schemes for accessibility, but they use JS and cookies to implement their own opinion of what an alternate stylesheet should be. Standardising this behaviour ensures that it is easy for authors to implement these things if they want to, instead of coming up with the same bugs that everyone else already has, and the user gets a predictable and safe behaviour.

Thanks.

AK

On 15 Oct 2012, at 10:13, Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch> wrote:

> Am 14.10.2012 03:59 schrieb "Gérard Talbot":
>>> Let me give you an example. My favorite football club recently
>>> redesigned their website. It's awful: http://www.fcz.ch - they seemed to
>>> try hard to make it look "hip hop" resp. "urban", as they expect this to
>>> be what the fans like.
>> 
>> Most likely those football club fans are under 35-40 years old when/where
>> they do not mind small (and/or frozen) font sizes. Also, often web
>> designers are youngsters who do not have low vision and who prefer to have
>> a lot of stuff filing webpages and lots of flash animated stuff, cosmetic
>> effects, over-excessively driven by javascript, DHTML, etc.
>> 
>>> I doubt that there was any chance for the web
>>> designer to change the design towards more accessibility. But if (s)he
>>> could have suggested one or two alternate style sheets that respect
>>> accessibility needs, I am sure (s)he would have got the budget to write
>>> them.
>> 
>> Markus, I respectfully still disagree with you. I do not want websites to
>> create, develop, manage, tune alternate stylesheets in the name accessible
>> font-size and suitable/reasonable color contrast for
>> readability/legibility purposes. I want the normal default style sheets to
>> be accessible, not to override users' font-size, etc.
> 
> Well I agree with these points of yours. The crucial question in this branch of the thread seems to be: Should the CSS spec be educational, should it force authors towards what the spec authors consider good design, and penalize bad design? Or is it ok also to offer good workarounds for bad design?
> 
> I personnally tend to the latter. You can't stop people from making bad designs if they think what they create is "cool". But you could convince some of them to provide a useful alternative for those who have problems with that "cool" stuff. This is the background of my suggestion.
> 
Received on Monday, 15 October 2012 10:22:46 GMT

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