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Re: [csswg-drafts] [css-text-decor] Limits on text-underline-offset to preserve semantic meaning (#4059)

From: Jen Simmons via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:38:15 +0000
To: public-css-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-512977927-1563482294-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
To understand better what we are making, and the issues we've been discussing, I made another set of demos — this time ones that are more realistic to what Authors will do: 
https://codepen.io/jensimmons/pen/voYMPE?editors=1100

<img width="1604" alt="Underlines" src="https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/108474/61489527-eedad800-a978-11e9-92dc-83e344c9c258.png">

I thought a lot about accessibility considerations as I worked on this, and realized there are already quite a few guidelines and best practices that should also be followed when styling underlines. Much of this is about choosing colors that work for the widest range of users — considering color contrast AA and AA guidelines, and guidelines about text that goes over any kind of image. I don't see any need to add additional a11y guidelines to make sure text is readable because of color choices. That's already defined. Plus there are guidelines about underlines already in play — don't remove the line and then make the color difference between regular text and linked text too faint, for example. When I made the demo with a very thin hairline underline, I realized, oh, the same guidelines apply if I was instead removing the underline. Right. Don't make it too hard to see. 

Perhaps folks who are making a11y linters and tests should add to their test suite, to consider underlines styles. That would likely help, and more and more of these tools pop up. But I didn't think of anything new for WCAG 2. 

If anything, I think these styles will encourage Authors to do a better job at a11y, because they can _have_ an underline for a link, and make it 'pretty', instead of always removing it because they don't like how it looks. 

Also I realized that the much more common accessibility consideration will have to do with line thickness, and color contrast. Especially with the new ability to let the underline go behind the text. 

In our debates, the concern has centered on giving Authors too much leeway with offset — that they could put the underline in a place that's confusing. That is an accessibility consideration, but it's also a UX consideration in general. Putting the underline so far away that it's confusing to a person with low vision or a cognitive disability is going to be confusing to everyone. 

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Received on Thursday, 18 July 2019 20:38:18 UTC

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