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Re: User Stylesheets are Assistive Technology

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 19:33:05 +0100
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <c443708f-8da7-dbb1-496b-77a1e209cd9f@splintered.co.uk>
Is there anything actually actionable you're hoping to get from this 
discussion? It's interesting, but I'm missing the context, or a concrete 
"and for this reason I think we should do X".


On 19/07/2018 18:19, Wayne Dick wrote:
> 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 similar.
> 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 magnification.
> User stylesheets written to modify visual access are Assistive 
> Technology. "hardware and/or software that acts as auser 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 2.0
> Best Wayne
> On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 5:28 PM J. Albert Bowden 
> <jalbertbowden@gmail.com <mailto:jalbertbowden@gmail.com>> wrote:
>     "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
>     <mailto:chaals@yandex.ru>> wrote:
>         On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 21:40:11 +0200, Tobias Bengfort
>         <tobias.bengfort@posteo.de <mailto: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 <mailto:albert@bowdenweb.com>
>     jalbertbowden@gmail.com <mailto:jalbertbowden@gmail.com>
>     https://bowdenweb.com/ <http://bowdenweb.com/>

Patrick H. Lauke

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Received on Thursday, 19 July 2018 18:34:12 UTC

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