RE: Applying design to W3C specs

Ben Schwarz wrote:
> I recently gave a presentation here in Melbourne titled
> "Take back the web" (
> take-back-the-web)
> It discusses (there are notes on the presentation) that the
> W3C needs the presence of professional designers and further
> real world use cases.. 
> Taking on this challenge personally, I teamed up with my business
> partner to focus on applying some typography to the existing
> W3C specifications.
> We offered it as a userscript and wrote about it on my blog. 
> -w3c-specs
> I'd really like to see a W3C response from my recent commentary
> and would like to open up for some discussion in this area.. 

(Moving to related WAI lists and, as I suspect the
chairs would appreciate this...)

Hi Ben,

While I hardly speak on behalf of the entire W3C, I'd like to say thanks
for thinking about this, and for investing time towards solving what you
see as a problem: you at least did more than complain about it, so big
kudos for that.

As an accessibility advocate, I'd like to offer you some commentary and
food for thought regarding your re-take on the 'design', as seen through
accessibility goggles.

At first pass, my largest issue is one of color palette, and specifically
many of those shades of teal/blue and white, which do not provide
sufficient contrast between foreground and background; notably
#99cccc/#ffffff and its inverse #ffffff /#99cccc - this combination fails
on all 3 counts: Luminosity Contrast Ratio, Difference in Brightness, and
Difference in Color (see: This
is particularly noticeable in the section: "Font matching algorithm",
where whole chunks of content is written in #99cccc, making it extremely
hard to read. Other color issues include your copyright class and other
elements using the #999/#fff combination as this too fails in all three
categories. (A useful Firefox plug-in for determining
foreground/background colors can be found here:

I would also suggest that the table used for the "Property Index" (near
the end of the page) could likely use some vertical rules as well (either
via the table rules attribute, or by styling the individual <td>'s with
side borders): this lengthy table requires scrolling to view in its
entirety and providing the vertical rules would assist both low vision
users as well as many users with cognitive perception issues keep track of
each column. While less severe than the color contrast issue, I would
offer it to you as something to consider.

On the plus side, I appreciate the controlled line-length, the enhanced
leading, and the fact that you've left well-enough-alone with the default
font-size (a huge issue for the majority of the 80% font-sized web). So
thanks for that!

Finally, I suspect that there is a 'branding' requirement to keep the W3C
Document Status indicator on the page (the Vertical Blue bar at the top
left corner) - this might not be something that can be dismissed that

Overall however, I appreciate the effort and feedback you put in here, and
I hope that others within the W3C will take these suggestions to heart.



Received on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 00:05:05 UTC