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RE: [166] Organize documents so they may be read without style sheets

From: Chris Brainerd <Chris.Brainerd@cds.hawaii.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:46:28 -1000
Message-ID: <4394F66E688EBD418EFD4431FC3AECBD04D599@lahaina.cds.hawaii.edu>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>, "Joe Clark" <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Cc: "WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I concur that checkpoints that specify that pages be readable without
CSS or scripting enabled harken back to support of legacy browsers and
is that our charter?

We should be careful with statements such as "should be readable"
without style sheets because it invokes the concept of "readability"
which is a much higher standard than simply being able to 'get' the

Basically, are we stating that so long as a page can be 'perceived' or
'rendered' without CSS (and missing the benefit of layout, structure,
and embelishments that CSS provides) that a page is within compliance? 

If the author intends a user to experience a page using CSS then it is
not a choice of the user not to fully experience the page?

Chris Brainerd
Instructional Designer
Real Choices ACCESS
Center on Disability Studies
University of Hawaii

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org] 
Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2003 4:46 AM
To: Joe Clark
Subject: RE: [166] Organize documents so they may be read without style

There are a couple of reasons why this seems a worthwhile requirement to

One is that the techniques for doing it are remarkably simple in general
- don't (as Microsoft Publisher certainly used to) use CSS positioning
to move the presentation of things which have a nonsensical source
order, don't include vital content through  CSS (this is just accurately
seperating content and presentation, although that is harder than people
sometimes claim, as Jonathan's examplle shows).

Certainly having a "different" but equally useful reading order seems
less than terrible- this has been used as a quick hack to give good
rendering for lynx users that is different to that provided for others
(e.g. as a way around the skip navigation thing).

This might seem like saying "don't do really perverse things to your
page", but that still needs saying - after all one person's abominable
perversion is another person's normal lifestyle.

And the difference between floated and positioned elements, very
roughly, is that floated elements are moved to one side or the other but
are the same vertical position as they would be if not floated, whereas
positioned elements can be placed more or less anywhere in the page, and
can stay in one place on the screen while the rest of the page is



On Fri, 13 Jun 2003, Joe Clark wrote:

>I don't see a purpose to this guideline in 2003/2004. There just is no 
>plausible scenario in which a disabled person would be using a browser 
>that cannot render CSS and JavaScript *except* for Lynx or the even 
>rarer competing text-only browsers.
>The guideline requires the page to be readable without stylesheets. The

>ramifications of ordering HTML elements so they can be read have not 
>been fully understood, either. Maybe Eric Meyer could explain the 
>difference between floated and positioned elements and the requirements

>for linear position in source code.
>Even if that were an issue, I contend that the document could still be 
>*read* even if components were not in the same order as in CSS 
>presentation. Remember, we're assuming valid HTML here. Nobody's 
>expecting the same joy of use and ease of understanding with and 
>without CSS.
>I don't see what problem this guideline could actually solve here in 
>the 21st century. It appears to attempt to restrict authors from using 
>CSS and JavaScript, both of which have no inevitable bearing on 
>accessibility. It seems to attempt to punish authors for making 
>sophisticated Web sites rather than plain-HTML sites. WCAG 2.0 needs to

>encourage the use of CSS, not force authors to use it in one guideline 
>("use CSS for layout") and penalize them in another ("make things work 
>fine without CSS"). This guideline embodies one of the many 
>contradictions in WCAG 1.0.
>I note that nobody can come up with real-world examples, save for one 
>very unusual page. It's just not applicable.
>Hence, this guideline should not be included in WCAG 2.0.

Charles McCathieNevile  http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  tel: +61 409
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Received on Wednesday, 18 June 2003 18:46:37 UTC

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