W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > October 2012

Re: Alternative Style Sheets

From: Gérard Talbot <www-style@gtalbot.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 21:14:38 -0400
Message-ID: <86dfba594e7352b888fc04df6456b645.squirrel@ed-sh-cp3.entirelydigital.com>
To: "Antony Kennedy" <antony@silversquid.com>
Cc: "Markus Ernst" <derernst@gmx.ch>, "Dirk Schulze" <dschulze@adobe.com>, "W3C www-style mailing list" <www-style@w3.org>

Le Lun 15 octobre 2012 6:22, Antony Kennedy a écrit :
> Agree.
> So, my overall points:
> 1) Sometimes design and business requirements exclude users or
> accessibility concerns. Alternate stylesheets provide a clever
> alternative.

I do not understand (and do not agree with, do not support) this logic.
Business exclude users and accessibility concerns but author can/will
provide alternate stylesheets.

> 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.

I had only 2 main concerns: font-size that honors the user's settings and
sufficient color/brightness contrast. That's it.

> Some users (like those with particular kinds of dyslexia)
> find high contrast designs hard to read.

For people with disabilities or special needs, then an user stylesheet is

> Or white backgrounds' glare
> obstructs their view of the black text - even though this is at maximum
> contrast.

On my own person website, 80% of all my webpages use light gray background
color. And I achieve sufficient color 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.

Example given: http://cwilso.com/

Unstyled body text is set to 12px (normal <p>) at
and the background color is dark ('background-color: #1B1814'), color is
'color: #999;' (not even white!) these 2 factors combined make it
unnecessarly and frustratingly difficult to read.

Success Criterion 1.4.3  of WCAG 2.0  requires the visual presentation of
text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1

Results for Luminosity Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is: 6.21:1

Passed at Level AA for regular text, and pass at Level AAA for large text:
If the text is large text (at least 18 point or 14 point bold), the
luminosity contrast ratio is sufficient for the chosen colours at Level
AAA; otherwise, Level AA (#1B1814 and #999).
Results from

but, you see, the text is 25% smaller than what is defined as normal text

> 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?

I am not against making it easy for authors to do alternate stylesheets. I
am very much against websites that do not do the basics and do not even
understand what basic color contrast and respect of the users' font-size

> Sure, authors can abuse it, but they can abuse
> everything they are given. We have to give them the option to be
> altruistic.

Alternate stylesheets for stylish presentations is okay with me. I
reviewed, corrected and improved the alternate stylesheets in the
and provided my own alternate stylesheet (see Browser-bug stylesheet).

> 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.

I think how to notify users/visitors of alternate stylesheets available
for a webpage is up to UA developers. Chrome has an extension that seems
good in that regards. Older Firefox versions were using the status bar.


> 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.

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Received on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 01:15:11 UTC

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