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

Re: Redesign Styles Hypocritical

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 2009 21:59:49 +0000
Message-ID: <4B201DD5.4010108@splintered.co.uk>
To: Gérard Talbot <info@gtalbot.org>
CC: "site-comments@w3.org" <site-comments@w3.org>, Felix Miata <mrmazda@earthlink.net>, Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, shawn@w3.org
On 09/12/2009 20:48, Gérard Talbot wrote:
> 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 body
> 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
> http://webstandards.org/"

Which is not a standards body, official or otherwise, and has nothing to 
do with the W3C directly.

 > Let's explain this once for all.

Accessibility rarely deals with absolutes, black/white situations.

> When WCAG 2 states in G142
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20081211/G142
> exactly and precisely this:
> "
> G142: Using a technology that has commonly-available user agents that
> support zoom
> Applicability
> All technologies with user-agent provided zoom capability.
> (...)
> "
> then WCAG 2 in such G142 is out of its domain. G142 has nothing to do with
> Content Accessible; it has everything, every single word, from top to
> bottom, about User Agent Accessibility.
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20081211/G142

"Content authored in technologies that are supported by user agents that 
can scale content uniformly"

The title of G142 is misleading and bad. But the description says 
authors should use technologies (read CSS etc) that work with user 
agents that are readily available and common (i.e. "accessibility 
supported" http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#accessibility-supporteddef)

> Anyone can verify my claim here.

I just did, and confirmed that the informative (rather than normative) 
technique is badly titled and misleading in its shortened form, but that 
the description - imho of course - clarifies it.

> If a sufficient criteria to achieve "1.4.4 Resize text" guideline is to
> use a graphical browser with a zoom feature

No it's not. It's "as an author, use a technology (like CSS) that also 
works well in browsers that have zoom features, as this is an 
accessibility-supported technology" or something to that effect.

> 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.

Ok, this argument has been going around forever. It assumes that users 
set their browser to their preferred font-size. It also neglects the 
fact that, for better or worse, the large majority of sites do (either 
through px based fonts or something like font-size: 0.85em or whatever) 
duck the standard body size from 100% on a regular basis. As users 
navigate not just your site, but a lot of others that do this, they will 
likely have had to compensate for this somehow (bigger monitor, lowering 
the resolution, using a screen magnifier, etc). Yes, in a perfect utopia 
all sites would honour the 100%, all users would know how to change 
their preferences accordingly (if they weren't buried 2-3 levels down in 
the prefs), etc. But at least this W3C redesign stuck with what has 
become a de-facto default size for most sites out there. Perfect? No. 
Acceptable? Perhaps. Inaccessible? Arguably not, according to WCAG 2.

> 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" ?

As they're advisory (and the whole of the techniques is only 
informative, not normative), they chose to ignore them and stick with 
the sufficient technique.

> 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 lost,
> then *they* have to zoom the webpage

As they have to on the majority of other sites out there. Either that or 
*they* would have to go into their preferences and change the default 
text size, which I'd posit not many people even know how to do.

Copying this to the WCAG list for their take (for those just joining us, 
the original thread is on W3C Style list, if I recall correctly)

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]

www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
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Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Wednesday, 9 December 2009 22:00:58 UTC

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