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Re: User Agent Accessibility Guidelines comments: font-size UI

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 11:29:53 -0800
Message-Id: <v04220806b45f3eebf287@[]>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
At 12:40 PM -0500 11/22/99, Ian Jacobs wrote:

>Do you mean that the URIs are not explicit enough or the techniques?
>Assuming you mean the techniques...

That is correct.


>  >     *  the font-size choice exposed to the user in UI must provide a
>  >        font-size value for the root elements of documents to be rendered.
>Are these recommendations appropriate for the UAGL? They seem to
>be more appropriate closer to CSS (e.g., in a W3C Note). The UAGL
>could then refer to them. I hate to hide important CSS ideas in
>the UAGL Techniques Document.

I have been an invited expert to the CSS&FP WG since 1996, and have 
been harping on such "implementation issues" for 18 months or so, in 
W3C and other fora. I do not believe that any such Note is 
forthcoming. If you believe, as I do, that resolution of these 
matters is critical to the coherence of the WAI's recommendations 
regarding font size, I suggest that the WAI must not defer the 

>  > *  Implement the CSS2 Processing Model [snip]

>The CSS2 Processing Model is not normative. The CSS cascade is and
>should be implemented.

Fair enough. But the "non-normative" language couching the CSS-2 
processing model description belies the fact that other models or ad 
hoc contortions are highly unlikely to support the cascade in as 
reliably determinate a fashion, and is illustrative of the CSS&FP 
WG's reticence or inability to address many UA implementation issues 
head-on. This isn't censure, either; I recognize that it is sometimes 
necessary to choose one's battles carefully, and to run away from the 

In view of the apparently determined disregard for the cascade in 
mainstream UAs (failure to inherit from HTML or even BODY into 
TH/TD), and the importance of same for WAI guidelines to be viable in 
practice, I suggest that the WAI establish an explicit checkpoint for 
correct behavior.

>  > The reason for most of these elaborations should be clear upon
>  > considering their *lack* in practice. If an author wishes to respect
>  > the font size needs of the user, s/he must be able to assume certain
>  > sympathetic correlations between hir stylesheet rules and those of
>  > the user, as well as predictable cascading and inheritance rules.
>  > This is common sense, yet implementations are in chaos for lack of
>  > norms here, and a lot depends on cleaning things up.
>  >
>  > CSS superceded the FONT size system with 7 keyword sizes of its own,
>  > but the scheme is underspecified and has been badly botched in
>  > implementation.
>This also suggests that the spec needs fixing and that the CSS WG
>is the proper place to push.

I believe that Microsoft will effectively defeat any such pushing in 
the CSS&FP WG, since it is contrary to their increasingly stable 
(stagnant?) implementation of HTML, CSS, and attendant UI, at least 
in Win32/Office2K. I think it is incumbent upon this group either to 
challenge this state of affairs, or to accept that MS's 
implementation is the de facto standard in this regard, and 
reformulate its recommendations regarding font size control 
accordingly. I advocate the former, as I can't see a way through the 

>Thanks for your comments, Todd. Let me know if you think
>the CSS WG is the proper forum for promoting a proper implementation.

I do. If I fail to convince you, however, would you regard it as 
proper for the WAI to flag these implementation issues formally for 
the CSS&FP WG, as WAI concerns?

Todd Fahrner
Received on Tuesday, 23 November 1999 14:30:22 UTC

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