WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Styling for high-contrast mode


From: James Nurthen
Date: Oct 17, 2008 3:35PM

I'll tackle these one by one....

> 1. Apparently, enough people are using it to make it an issue. And since
> millions of websites use background images for headers, it's a big one.
> 2. I can tell you from experience that major companies are not going to
> stop
> using background images for headers and other essential elements for the
> reasons I mentioned before. I just finished a contract for a large social
> networking site where I had to go in and strip out dozens of hardcoded
> images because they wanted to change the look and feel of the site. Had the
> images been in the stylesheets instead of the html, it would have taken
> hours instead of months. That translates to a savings of tens of thousands
> of dollars.

I'm not sure you can generalize that much. Some major companies may not stop
- but many have either never used them or have re-engineered products to
stop using them (and I speak from experience here).

Background images are certainly not the only way to solve the redesign or
reskinning problem.

> 3. HCM is not part of 508 specs. 508 specs say simply that pages must
> function properly with styles turned off. My example complies with that
> rule, as does every site I build.

Looking to the future using background images for content is a specified
failure for WCAG 2.0 1.1.1


> 4. A much better way to achieve the results Microsoft was aiming for would
> have been to make it so that when HCM was activated, it turned off the
> default stylesheet, made the text white and the background black, and
> scaled
> the fonts up. It would take me two minutes to write a stylesheet like that,
> so I'm not sure why MS can't figure it out.

Maybe so - but it is not a problem if you go by the definition of a
background image.

It is only due to the misuse of background images to display content that
this becomes problematic

> 5. There is no way to detect HCM through media types. I haven't found a way
> to do it through Javascript either. It appears the only way to accommodate
> HCM users is by offering them a manual stylesheet switcher. If I find
> another way (which I'm committed to doing), I will post it here.

Take a look at the method dojo came up with

I believe they no longer use background images for content - instead using
real inline images - but I think this technique works.

<snip rant>