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Re: css off


From: Despain, Dallas
Date: Aug 25, 2009 10:00PM


Thank you for your very well thought out response.

I agree that section 508 does not apply to web 2.0 technologies very well and agree with the technicality that this fact still doesn't get us off the hook. Really, we won't be off the hook until section 508 gets updated because we have government clients, so we want to comply with it first.

To your next point, I agree, it is reasonable to ask that dialogs be included in the document in an order that makes sense. The problem I have when CSS is off is that the dialog trigger(the link or button that launches the dialog) is present and then the dialog content is present directly below.

For Example, say a "log in" link launches a dialog containing two text input fields, "username" and "password" and two buttons, the submit button labeled "log in" and a "cancel" button. The document order goes "Log In link" "Username edit" "Password edit" "Login button" "cancel button". When you read this with css off it's confusing. Why is there a link that says "login" and a button that also says "login"? What's the "cancel" button even for? There's no change in context which always accompanies a dialog.

Incidentally, I ditched the ARIA plugin for dialogs, so perhaps I linked to a bad example for my purposes here. We did some accessibility usability testing, and none of our 5 participants used JAWS 10 and the aria techniques used don't work for ie8 and JAWS, so I have been enhancing them with more traditional methods like managing focus well and using off-screen text to announce the change in context.

We've had to concede to making javascript required though. :(

I'm willing to give up all my css except display:none - that seems reasonable to me :)



-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Chris Hoffman
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:16 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] css off

Hi Dallas,

I see two issues here. The first is how much authority Section 508
should have over modern Web applications. Section 508 was drafted long
before folks started turning divs into dialog boxes and pulling in
resources with Ajax and JSON-P, so maybe we shouldn't expect it to
apply, especially if we start distinguishing "Web pages" from "Web
applications". Section 508 can still reign over the pages, while newer
standards like WCAG-2 and ARIA can be used for compliance for

One caveat that comes with that approach is that Section 508 _also_
governs computer applications (albeit in a different subsection than
the one that covers Web pages), so that calling what you've developed
an application instead of a page doesn't necessarily get you off the
hook for compliance.

The second issue is whether 1192.22(d) (saying that a page should be
readable with CSS turned off) is achievable with a reasonable amount
of effort in a modern Web application. I think that it is. There is no
reason that divs that will be used as dialog boxes can't be included
in the document in positions and an order that makes logical sense, or
even be kept as separate pages that get pulled in with Ajax requests.
Getting it all to work may take some experimentation and a bit of
unorthodox coding (especially if you are using a CMS), but it would be
well worth it.


First, just because JAWS 10 has ARIA support doesn't mean that every
other assistive technology application out there supports it. I'm
willing to bet that there are plenty of well-aged screen readers out
there in the field (WebAIM's survey results notwithstanding; I have a
feeling they were skewed somewhat by the audience), and to them, a
javascript-powered dialog box looks just like any other div.

Second, there's that oft-talked-about group of people who browse with
Javascript turned off (actually I work with one, and he's a Web
developer [grin]), screen readers or not. Their dialogs look like
divs, too.

And finally, suppose I want to print a page to read later, complete
with all its attachments and extra bits and pieces. My ink jet doesn't
do modal windows yet, so it would be great if everything I printed was
in an order that made sense.


On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 7:56 PM, Despain, Dallas< <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Hi,
> Section 1194.22 (d) Of the section508 guidelines say that
> "Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet."
> I thought that the spirit of this law is to make sure that the reading order is correct regardless of stylesheet? Our QA department is taking it literally and testing functionality of our pages with css off (using the "disable styles" function of the wave toolbar)
> This is causing problems because
> We are using web2.0 style dialogs in our application similar to these:
> http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/examples/container/container-ariaplugin_clean.html
> JAWS respects and doesn't announce things with display:none applied, which I think is pretty much essential to designing web 2.0 pages.
> When you turn styles off in that page, it's hard to navigate because the dialog content shows up inline with the rest of the content and it's hard to tell where the dialogs begin and where they end.
> What do you guys think? Is it reasonable to expect these types of dialog to work and make sense with css off? I didn't see an equivalent wcag2.0 "css off" requirement except perhaps it can be implied form 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence, and 2.4.3 focus order.
> Is this Section 1194.22 (d) an outdated guideline?
> Thanks,
> Dallas