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RE: User Stylesheets are Assistive Technology

From: Sean Murphy (seanmmur) <seanmmur@cisco.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2018 22:43:25 +0000
To: Chaals Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <7d9d78dcce68410c92353df551a0bb21@XCH-RCD-001.cisco.com>
Charles and all,

This is an very enlightening  discussion. To answer your last question Charles. When I refer to to the community. I am referring to the general disability user  base. Not people who are specialising in accessibility or UX designers. As much as they need to know about it and test/design for such technology. The general disability community or the user base as a whole need to know how to use it and ensure the technology is reliable. Based upon later posts this doesn’t seem the case.

Possible opportunity for someone to create a extendtion across all browsers.


Sean Murphy
Tel: +61 2 8446 7751

Cisco Systems, Inc.
The Forum 201 Pacific Highway


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From: Chaals Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
Sent: Wednesday, 18 July 2018 8:14 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: User Stylesheets are Assistive Technology

On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 09:51:22 +0200, Sean Murphy (seanmmur) <seanmmur@cisco.com<mailto:seanmmur@cisco.com>> wrote:
How many programs are available now an average user who knows nothing about style sheets can build their own style sheet and utilise in a browser?

An average user who kknows nothing about style sheets probably cannot do this. In part because there is little tooling.

Amaya long ago implemented a basically WYSIWYG method to apply some new style, and create a rule based on the example. This functionality is also in MS office products - where style sheets are an extremely helpful tool that I only ever see  used by a tiny fraction of people.

Does the community who benefit from this technology know about it and are using it?

If you mean all of them, then I am certain the anseer is no. If you mean some, then Wayne is an existence proof that the answer is yes. If you mean "How much of the community who could benefit..." then I suspect the answer is "a small fraction"...

What part of the disability community would benefit from this other than low vision and dyslexia?

It is likely that people with motor difficulties of various kinds would benefit from the ability to set sizes and spacing for interactive components. Being able to hide distracting moving things helps a few other groups. Handling colours effectively helps people who may or may not be in what you meant by "low vision". changed presentaation of video captions/subtitles helps a few different groups of users.

So I think we're probably only talking about something on the order of a third of the population, if the features were actually friendly enough to be usable without the kind of pain they currently require.

Just to think through the implications of the difference that implementation details make. Many browsers include a "minimum font size" feature. Unfortunately, when I use the Santander Bank website, increasing font size breaks it (due to a poorly designed site - this isn't the only issue they have) and I need to apply a work-around or turn off the feature that is supposed to help me on all websites. There are  other  strategies that would work better, if I could use a style sheet developed specifically for that site - and it seems reasonable to share something which increase font-size, rather than having each user make their own, because it is somewhat tricky.

I wrot before about userJS. One of the primary use cases was for browser manufacturers to patch websites that didn't work. There were employees at Opera who would write this code, and it was distributed to every Opera user. This was a job for a javascript expert, but their work helped millions of users (because in general they worked on sites where the problems affected millions of user at once).

If the community does not know how to leverage this technology to make their lives easier. Then I see this as a bigger issue. If the community does know about style sheets and can easily build them to their specifications. Then isn’t it up to the community to make the vendors aware of the importance of the feature?

This depends on what you mean by "the community". Taking as my starting point that it means "accessibility professionals, people with disabilities, and web technology professionals whose responsibility includes thinking about user experience" I think the answer is yes. If the meaning of "the community" should not be at least that broad, I am surprised, and would like some explanation to help understand the argument.



From: Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com<mailto:wayneedick@gmail.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, 18 July 2018 11:22 AM
To: Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL <ryladog@gmail.com<mailto:ryladog@gmail.com>>
Cc: W3C WAI ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: User Stylesheets are Assistive Technology


Brilliant observation. Actually I am working on a JSON protocol to pass to programs to forward a user's typographic needs. That could be easily taken up by browsers. Until then user style sheets fill a gap. I use them to work. Like reading Safaribooksonline. I use the stylesheet given in this list so I can read technology. The sample code comes out terrible, but I copy it and read it in Sublime where it word wraps.

The problem is that the actual tools people use to live and work are recognized as necessary AT by the Accessibility Group. So, browsers and operating systems just throw them away and people who need them are shut out of basic acts like reading. It happens to me once a year.

The latest was when Windows discontinued adjustable user interfaces. It was important AT. I had to move to the Mac. To use stylesheets for accessibility on Chrome we used to use Stylish, but they scrape personal data and sell it. There is a program called Stylus but I'm sticking with Safari until they break stylesheets. They probably will eventually, because stylesheets are not recognized as a technology that people with disabilities depend on to maintain literacy.

Best all, Wayne

On Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 5:27 PM Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com<mailto:wayneedick@gmail.com>> wrote:
Joe first,
Here is a modest stylesheet.

/* Simple Style Sheet to Reset Color and Font Size for Safari
html, iframe, body, p, ol, li, dt, dd, dl, div, span, section, article, header, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, footer, aside, a {
  background-color: #c0b098 !important;
  color: #000000 !important;
  font-size: 20px !important;
  line-height: 1.35em !important;
  letter-spacing: 0.06em !important;
  word-spacing: 0.09em !important;

a {
  font-size: 20px !important;
  color: brown !important;

In the modern context it is best intervene only a little.

Here I just change font-size up by 25%, spacing and

background color. This works on most responsive pages.

Most pages can take this amount of change.

Sometimes changing color disables a page for no obvious reason.

Change my colors as you need.

Lastly, sometimes non-responsive pages do well with very large

fonts. On gitHub I use 32px font and then zoom to 125%.


My pages are assistive technology. They are

technology that enable me to read. It is only prejudice that

does not recognize this as legitimate AT.

Best to all, Wayne

On Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 5:02 PM Katie Haritos-Shea <ryladog@gmail.com<mailto:ryladog@gmail.com>> wrote:

I get what you are saying.

I personally refer to two things related to user needs in relation to technology, Assitive Technologies and Adaptive Techniques.

User style sheets seem to fall somewhere in between those two for me.

On Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 7:57 PM Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com<mailto:wayneedick@gmail.com>> wrote:
There are lots of people who claim to be accessibility experts who disregard the value of user stylesheets as a significant technology to mitigate problems of visual interface. Actually they work quite well.

This technology is used primarily be people who are left out of the mainstream ATs. They are a way to change colors, ensure a personalized contrast ration, control column width and many other things.

I use Safari because the browser will host user stylesheets. It is too bad that other browsers decided to stop supporting this important assistive technology.

I think the AG should at least recognize that this is a form of assistive technology that is available in a technology landscape that offers almost nothing useful for most people with low vision and cognitive disabilities.

For those who want to tell me how wonderful screen magnifiers are if I just used them correctly, don't bother. I probably know how to use them better than you. For my needs, screen magnification scores zero.

Wayne Dick

Chaals: Charles (McCathie) Nevile find more at https://yandex.com
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Received on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 22:43:51 UTC

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