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Re: User Stylesheets are Assistive Technology

From: Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 10:19:13 -0700
Message-ID: <CAJeQ8SBU7eJFx8h3Q=CKFkri20zMRB3seq8bMG9jCWCAT3Utxg@mail.gmail.com>
To: jalbertbowden@gmail.com
Cc: chaals@yandex.ru, W3C WAI ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I will now focus on users with low vision.  It is a good example because
the scope is simpler than cognitive disabilities, but the solution space is

The current model of AT does not work for people who have low vision and
cognitive disabilities. We need a personalized user interface. The access
we need is like the access given by stylesheets when they work. We need
selector level personalization.

It is very clear that this cannot be provided by an AT that runs outside of
the browser. That would be an extreme breach of security. Right now CSS or
browser extensions are the only way to achieve this result. There are
difficulties with both of these, but for now that is all there is.

Ultimately there needs to be a way to pass style preferences to browsers in
a way that uses can get their visual style changes. Until then, CSS and
extensions are it.

Don't discount a tool that serves subject matter experts with disabilities.
We do need to work. Ordinary users with low vision cannot write CSS. Most
people who are blind don't write screen readers but they need them. (The
NVDA staff is a cool exception)

The bottom line is that CSS is one of the only languages that can safely
mitigate the accessibility needs of the small group people with low vision
who are IT professionals. It keeps many us working.

It is extremely scary to live in a world where a basic method of
accommodation can be taken away without notice, because nobody understands
the extreme value of these tool to our lives. CSS is one. Configurable UI
tools are another.

Jon's comment on Windows 10 really illustrates the problem. For Jon the
change was good. For me it made my 13 inch laptop impractical to use.
Personalization is really necessary, but mainstream users think of it as a
nice feature, not a necessity. That is why people with fully sight and no
print disability can talk so casually about using CSS as an AT. CSS is not
ideal, but for many it's infinitely better than nothing, or screen

User stylesheets written to modify visual access are Assistive
Technology. "hardware
and/or software that acts as a user agent
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#useragentdef>, or along with a mainstream
user agent, to provide functionality to meet the requirements of users with
disabilities that go beyond those offered by mainstream user agents"  WCAG

Best Wayne

On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 5:28 PM J. Albert Bowden <jalbertbowden@gmail.com>

> "I think a major issue with user stylesheets is that there are no stable
> CSS-APIs that you could work against."
> selectors are about as stable as they come and incredibly effective.
> a generic stylesheet may not beat specificity 100% of the time, but that
> shouldn't discount it, by any means.
> moreover, any style sheet added to the document is going to have to be
> scripted in, and even more likely in javascript.
> so since we are already using javascript, lets just find the styles that
> are not winning the specificity wars and then rewrite the style at a higher
> specificity.
> we can also use javascript to address frailty/brittleness in selectivity;
> offer a nav/modal that appears on activation. read the dom, present page
> elements in nav/modal with toggles/options, etc.
> there are already a ton of bookmarklets that do most of this, pieces of
> this, etc.
> i actually think bookmarklets are more ideal here for
> cross-browse/rplatforms, most particularly in terms of maintenance;
> however, then i think it becomes an issue of user adoption. not many people
> know about bookmarklets.
> maybe i'm missing something entirely? i am certainly not an a11y expert.
> On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 7:01 PM, Chaals Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru> wrote:
>> On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 21:40:11 +0200, Tobias Bengfort <
>> tobias.bengfort@posteo.de> wrote:
>> I think a major issue with user stylesheets is that there are no stable
>>> CSS-APIs that you could work against. A user-stylesheet is basically a
>>> monkey-patch that will break on a regular basis.
>>> In order to get this working reliably we would have to convince authors
>>> to trat their CSS as a public interface and announce breaking changes
>>> early on. I am not sure this reasonable.
>> We would. But in a world of CSS preprocessors and so on, it is possibly
>> easier than it might seem.
>> cheers
>> tobias
>>> On 18/07/18 01:50, Wayne Dick 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
>> Using Opera's long-abandoned mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/
>> Is there really still nothing better?
> --
> J. Albert Bowden II
> albert@bowdenweb.com
> jalbertbowden@gmail.com
> https://bowdenweb.com/ <http://bowdenweb.com/>
Received on Thursday, 19 July 2018 17:20:15 UTC

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