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RE: CSS vs personalization

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@levelaccess.com>
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:19:13 +0000
To: WAI IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CY1PR0301MB2090E63E9FB762BFDAF728E9F1090@CY1PR0301MB2090.namprd03.prod.outlook.com>
For low vision users I'd add that it is very difficult in many browsers to even apply user style sheets.  Most browsers are turning this off or in the case of mobile don't even offer an option.  Stylesheet injectors like Stylish are popular on non-mobile but the styles get inserted at the document level not the user level.   For the user to figure out what hierarchy of selectors in order to overwrite the CSS is very difficult.  For example, some types of selector such as those that use IDs have a higher precedence, etc.   Also challenges with authors using CSS background images to communicate information without a way to communicate that the background image is not decorative is problematic.  Yes, we could require role="img" be added to all non-decorative CSS Background images to help users know when it's safe to remove background images and when it's not.  But for the average user and without normed conventions to do this users have great difficult in sorting this out.  Use of icon fonts is also an issue when users want to replace the font family but end up destroying font icons.

Some of these issues overlap with the issues experience by users with cognitive disabilities.


Jonathan Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer
Level Access, inc. (formerly SSB BART Group, inc.)
(703) 637-8957
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-----Original Message-----
From: Tobias Bengfort [mailto:tobias.bengfort@posteo.de] 
Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2017 5:54 AM
To: WAI IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Subject: CSS vs personalization

While reading the section about personalization in the "Cognitive Accessibility Roadmap and Gap Analysis" I was wondering how this relates to CSS in general.

I think personalization would be easy if there was no CSS, that is, if the presentation of CSS was completely up to the user agent. I do not think that CSS will go away anytime soon. However, we need to be aware of this conflict.

As far as I understand, CSS exists for three reasons:

- Historically, default styling was bad (and it still is).
- Branding
- To extend the semantics of HTML (in many cases in combination with

The last point is especially important because it means that ignoring CSS may break the UI. To make this a bit more concrete: If I were to strip all styling from all links on a page and replace it with my own "personalized" styling, it would potentially break layout, alignment, and color contrast. Also, some application specific semantics might be lost.

Can you point me to some resources where this conflict has been discussed before? What practices should I as a CSS author avoid in order to not stand in the way of personalization?


Received on Sunday, 17 December 2017 17:19:38 UTC

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