Re: Updates to Understanding 1.4.11 part 2

Hi Laura,

I can agree with that half-way: as long as the author has not modified the
background, then yes, the native foreground is a User Agent problem.

BUT, if the content author has modified the background, then no, native
default colors/indication cannot be "forgiven", because at some point the
author has intervened.

It is my suspicion that this is (or will be) a real edge case, as
essentially today most sites have some CSS applied, and usually one of the
core elements styled is either body background or page-container background
color(s). Even in the extreme edge-case of a style sheet with *body
{background-color: #FFF;}*, yet still allowing the native focus color in
that instance to remain unstyled, is a conscious [sic] decision to stay
with defaults that are known to be inaccessible, so I suspect the only time
that this will come into play is when a style sheet is omitted (the entire
page defaults to native styling), corrupted during delivery (again, the
entire page defaults to native styling), or one or more author-declared
values are over-ridden by the end-user (which, in that case, it's already

My mantra remains: *If you change one value, you must modify all related
values to be in compliance *(i.e., if you explicitly modify or declare the
background color at any point, then any foreground colors impacted by that
choice will also need to be addressed - *all of them*, including inactive
state, focused state, and if/when applicable, visited state: page authors
are either "all in" or "all out", there is no middle ground IMHO.)


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 3:52 PM, Laura Carlson <>

> Hi John,
> Yes, I think we certainly can encourage authors to do the right thing
> in the Understanding docs and have advisory techniques. This is true
> for 1.4.13 and 1.4.11.
> But since we agree it is a User Agent fault, I suggest that we can't
> fail authors if they don't set the outline / focus-style for 1.4.11 or
> provide a title attribute fix for 1.4.13.
> Kindest Regards,
> Laura
> On 6/13/18, John Foliot <> wrote:
> > Hi Laura,
> >
> >> But the big question is: Is it an author's responsibility to solve a
> user
> > agent issue?
> >
> > I suspect that very much depends on how you define "responsibility". If
> you
> > are talking about "legal" responsibility, I'll side with the exception
> > language, as I agree it truly is the user-agent at "fault" here.
> >
> > That said, in our Understanding documents we should be
> > sufficiently transparent to note that while this *is* a currently known
> UA
> > problem in some browsers (which may or may-not linger), it's a simple
> > problem to fix, and for maximum "usability" and adherence to the spirit
> of
> > WCAG content designers *should* address this known issue. My reasoning is
> > that once designers "Understand" the problem, they can adjust to it
> quickly
> > and easily, as the fix is quite simple: when you change one aspect of the
> > design (background color) you are responsible for all of the other
> contrast
> > changes that the initial change necessitates - that color choices are
> > "paired" with contrast and visible state changes as well. In practice and
> > observation during my multiple training activities, this does not appear
> to
> > be a hard idea to grasp by the designers (in fact, on more than one
> > occasion when discussing focus contrast, designers have brought this up
> to
> > me first, as they begin to grok the issues related to visual design.)
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > JF
> --
> Laura L. Carlson

John Foliot
Principal Accessibility Strategist
Deque Systems Inc.

Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion

Received on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 21:17:16 UTC