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Media Queries for Accessible First Design

From: Grant Neufeld <activist@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2020 17:54:41 -0600
Message-ID: <CAANMVvu5GXgvpLNat5A7gYa=vUo6crn0yCGd9XawoZAewN91mQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
I believe this is applicable to the Media Queries Level 5 Working
Draft [FPWD], of 18 March 2020:

I’m concerned that the direction for CSS accessibility features may
end up failing to support accessible-first design (AFD).

AFD can be thought of as an approach similar to how “mobile-first
design”/“responsive design” uses progressive enhancement based on
feature availability and device/system constraints. In an AFD
approach, we would make our default site design maximally accessible
(high contrast, reduced motion, etc.), and then check media queries to
see if we can add the more stylized, less broadly accessible, features
(lower contrast, more motion, etc.).

To support AFD, we need to be able to check for the state where the
host OS supports a given accessibility mode (e.g., high contrast), but
has it turned off.

For accessible-first design, if the user preference is unknown (OS or
browser doesn’t support it), or known and on, we’ll stick with the
accessible styles. Only in the case where the user preference is known
and off (OS supports it, and it is off) do we use “progressive
enhancement” to apply the less accessible styles (e.g., lower
contrast, more motion,…).

The current proposals for media queries are missing the “known and
off” state. For example, “prefers-reduced-motion”, only has
“no-preference” and “reduce” as possible values. That covers:
* Reduce setting is unknown/unsupported.
* Reduce setting is on.
but not:
* Reduce setting is available and off.

So, I would like to see all accessibility setting/preference/etc.
media queries be amended or extended to include a value for “setting
is known/available and off”.

Received on Thursday, 28 May 2020 08:26:43 UTC

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