W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > January 2000

let's put an end to INVISIBLE TEXT

From: Gavin Stokes <gstokes@enteract.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 19:09:32 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <>
To: www-validator@w3.org
So many Web pages suffer from unintentionally invisible text.  It's such an 
easy problem to prevent, and yet it's rampant.  Certain tools even generate 
HTML that causes the problem, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver.

Please add a check for this to the HTML validator.

The validator needs to ensure that, if either the background color or the 
text color is set, they are both set.  Typically you'll find that the 
background has been set to white, but the text color is left 
undefined.  The text will then be displayed in whatever color the user's 
operating system normally uses for text.  What if that color is white?  You 
wind up with white text on a white background.

If you want to see this defect in action, go into the Windows Control 
Panel's Display / Appearance options.  Select the "High contrast black" 
color scheme.  Or, because that scheme is admittedly not too attractive, 
just change the window background color to dark blue and the window text 
color to white.  Much better than the glaring inverse video that Windows 
and the Mac OS ship with.  Now press OK and check out 
www.wildcat.com/Site/Home.htm.  Or just browse through the Macromedia 
site.  They're one of the biggest offenders out there.

All the validator has to do is make sure there's a TEXT= tag after every 
BGCOLOR= tag, and it has to make sure that Web pages that specify a 
background color (or background graphic!) also set the font color in every 
style in their style sheets.

Gavin Stokes
Received on Friday, 14 January 2000 16:54:08 UTC

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