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Re: User stylesheets (was: Interesting cause: http://contrastrebellion.com)


From: Christophe Strobbe
Date: Jul 29, 2011 6:54AM

At 13:59 29-7-2011, you wrote:
>On Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 11:17, Christophe Strobbe >
> >
> > (JISC Techdis in the UK used to have a "User Style Sheet Wizard", but
> > it is no longer available.)
> >
>Is anyone using user stylesheets? Creating a css file is not easily
>done by the average user (not even web developers get them right a lot
>of the time). I have a feeling that very few are actually using this
>type of functionality in their browser.

After roughly 10 years in Web accessibility, I have met only two
persons who use user stylesheets: Wayne Dick and one other person. I
admit that this does not constitute representative sampling.
In the past there have been attempts to provide guidance and help
about user stylesheets. If my memory is correct, Kynn Bartlett
(author of "Teach Yourself Cascading Style Sheets in 24 Hours") set
up a website with instructions for every major browser, but that
website disappeared a long time ago.
The problem with such websites is that people who don't know the
concept of user stylesheets (probably most users) are unlikely to
find the right information. Accessibility toolbars and extensions
like the JISC Techdis Toolbar (sadly discontinued), the RNIB Surf
Right Toolbar, WebVisum, Aries Arditi's LowBrowse extension etctera
face the same challenge: how do you promote uptake by those who need
it? (RNIB can inform its members; other toolbars and extensions need
to find other channels.)
The same applies to resources like the W3C's "Better Web Browsing:
Tips for Customizing Your Computer" <http://www.w3.org/WAI/users/browsing>;.
The only way I can think of right now is informing organisations that
represent persons with disabilities and hope they pass on the
information to their members. (I know there are mailing lists for
blind users, screen reader users, blind programmers, etcetera, but
the intended audience is wider than these lists.)
If people on this list know other methods, please share!

>What would you do in the stylesheet? A lot of the stuff can already be
>done in the browser or OS.

Yes, but how do you teach people to fish when they don't know what
fishing is? (Cf. "Text Resize Widgets and Fishing"

Best regards,



Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Twitter: @RabelaisA11y
Open source for accessibility: results from the AEGIS project
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