W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > site-comments@w3.org > December 2009

Re: Redesign Styles Hypocritical

From: Gérard Talbot <info@gtalbot.org>
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 2009 20:49:06 +0000
To: "site-comments@w3.org" <site-comments@w3.org>
Message-Id: <b1ab6ef673f52f93f54ef553b4afc282.squirrel@cp3.shieldhost.com>
Cc: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, "Felix Miata" <mrmazda@earthlink.net>, "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
> And every time a site uses absolute font sizes, a kitten dies...is  
> that
> enough of a "taking sides" argument now? :)


my initial post was aimed at asking you to get involved into this W3C
issue. It's not a trivial issue as it involves the official standard  
on accessible content and official standard body on web related
technologies. You signed your post in this thread as "Co-lead, Web
Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force

>> I want to repeat that this font-size:13px is going against each and  
>> all of
>> WCAG 1 & 2 articles, guidelines, checkpoints, examples, tips, etc..

> No, that is your opinion. Particularly with regards to WCAG 2.

Let's explain this once for all.

There is a recommendation about User Agent Accessibility Guidelines  
1.0): that's one thing.

And there is a recommendation about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
(WCAG 2): that's another.

The former deals with user agents like web (graphical) browsers. The
latter deals with accessible coding practices, best recommendable web
authoring techniques, etc. for making content accessible to users.

When WCAG 2 states in G142
exactly and precisely this:
G142: Using a technology that has commonly-available user agents that
support zoom
All technologies with user-agent provided zoom capability.
then WCAG 2 in such G142 is out of its domain. G142 has nothing to do  
Content Accessible; it has everything, every single word, from top to
bottom, about User Agent Accessibility.

The first sufficient technique for 1.4.4 - Resize text according to  
WCAG 2 is

      G142: Using a technology that has commonly-available user agents
that support zoom


Anyone can verify my claim here.

If a sufficient criteria to achieve "1.4.4 Resize text" guideline is to
use a graphical browser with a zoom feature (and zoom is not even
considered as an assistive technology by WCAG 2), then where is the
involvement of the web author? Under such logic, any webpage - no matter
how bad it is authored - will pass "1.4.4 Resize text" guideline.

It's utterly weak to tell web visitors/users that they should just zoom
the page themselves if they want to read it according to their eyesight
needs, legibility requirements, vision... when, from the beginning, all
the web author had to do is set body {font-size: 100%;} or body
{font-size: medium;} or not set any font-size at all for body so that
(s)he would meet the preferred font-size of the visitor.

Additional Techniques (Advisory) for 1.4.4

- Providing large fonts by default

- Using page-percent for container sizes

- Avoiding scaling font sizes smaller than the user-agent default
Note: The author won't actually know the font size, but should avoid
percentage scaling that results in less than 100%

How is the W3C stylesheet (with setting body {font-size: 13px} ... or to
any smaller px-based value for that matter) meeting such "Additional
Techniques (Advisory) for 1.4.4" ?

>> (...) the page zoom
>> functionality in IE 7 and 8 scales everything, even text set in  
>> absolute
> units, which in my mind satisfies 1.4.4 "text can be resized without
> assistive technology". (the fact that it's confusing to have the text
> size and zoom functionality work differently in this respect is of
> course a problem)

> (...)
> as we're
> talking about the w3c.org redesign, and we're not dealing in absolutes
> but actually making claims specifically about the accessibility or
> inaccessibility (breach or no breach of WCAG 2 etc) of this site: are
> there any specific pages on www.w3c.org that, once you use IE's zoom
> functionality, become completely inaccessible and fail the SCs? If so,
> then it's a case of looking at those in particular and proposing fixes
> there. Is the use of font sizes set in absolute units
> "accessibility-supported"? I'd argue that yes, it is. Alternatives,  
> such
> as the tried and true use of relative sizes, may of course be better,
> but it's not a black/white argument a la "absolute font sizes =
> inaccessible site" anymore.

In other words, if a font-size for unstyled body content is insufficient
for people with low vision, over 40, over 50, with moderate eyesight  
then *they* have to zoom the webpage and that is how such webpage is
meeting, honoring WCAG 2 guidelines. And on top of everything, such W3C
website is going to use absolute unit, not relative unit and it's  
going to
use a smaller size than the browsers default.

2 more links of top of all the others I provided:

Big Type Is Best for Aging Baby Boomers
A Case for Universal Graphic Design

Making Text Legible
Designing for People with Partial Sight

regards, Gérard
Received on Wednesday, 9 December 2009 20:54:36 UTC

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