[whatwg] Fallback styles for legacy user agents [was: Re:

> From: Calogero Alex Baldacchino <alex.baldacchino at email.it>
> Subject: Re: [whatwg] Fallback styles for legacy user agents [was: Re:
> Deprecating <small> , <b> ?]
> To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com>
> Cc: WHAT Working Group <whatwg at lists.whatwg.org>
> Message-ID: <492D86E7.9000807 at email.it>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> The "foundation" style sheet may be at least a partial solution, but if
> the browser is not aware of an element, I guess its style could not
> apply at all. Anyway, a standard default style sheet could be desireable
> both to have a standard basic layout on all browsers (as far as
> possible, because of possible differences in CSS compliance) and as a
> potential aid for assistive UAs, since the default sheet could cover a
> few basic aureal properties.
> Regards,
> Alex

Not too long ago I needed to provide a special section for a website which 
was only accessible to users of screenreaders.
I collaborated with users from windows-eyes and JAWS (the 2 screenreaders 
with the biggest custumer-base).
I got myself some trieal versions and started testing and talking... Guess 
what, aural styles are ignored by screenreaders (they were a year and a half 
ago and I am assuming they are now).
I contacted one of the manufactureres and I am sorry I can't remember which 
one, I think it was JAWS but it could have been Windows-eyes. After a 
lengthy correspondance they told me what basically comes down to this:
They do not support aural style sheets because they don't want us (authors) 
to take control away from the users. They say it is too confusing and 
basically non-accessible when we (authors) change voice, pitch, volume, etc.
Well, in that area I can agree with them. Screenreaders are very personal 
tools I gather from users.
Basically it is a bad idea to mark-up aural properties when it comes to 
accessibility. However, it would still be nice to hide/show things solely 
for specific UAs. But just because CSS gives us the ability to use extensive 
aural properties is exactly why they don't want to gice us the ability to 
hide/show things.
Again, this information is well over a year old, so maybe they have changed 
policies. Still I think it is unwise to include aural properties in style 
sheets, default or otherwise. We must let the users choose their volume, 
speed, pitch, voice, etc. because that is what is helping them most (this is 
what I have been told by manufacturer and users).

I know it is a side-issue on this topic (and has little to do with HTML) but 
since you mention it as an argument I just thought it might be relevant.


Received on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 13:33:28 UTC