Does Good HTML Mean the Site is Accessible?


Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 17:22:21 +1000


From: Tony Heyes Subject: WAI DAY

Mime-Version: 1.0

Dear Sirs,

I am sorry that I feel I need to send this to you of all people!!!! My enjoyment of your web page is considerably diminished by a small oversight on your part. Let me explain:

In common with many people with a vision impairment I prefer to have a dark computer screen with light text, links etc. In my case I have configured my Netscape browser to give me yellow text on a dark red/brown background, cyan links and white followed links.

Using these 'default' colours I am able to surf the web and look at most other pages. But there are two problems:

Firstly, it is boring to have all pages come up in MY colours. I like to look at other peoples' choices and thereby to get ideas for interesting visual displays.

UNFORTUNATELY there is a tendency for people to set their web page background but to FAIL TO SET the other colour attributes. This may look perfectly OK to them but it is hell for me! For example: if they set their background to a nice ivory and I choose to look at your page using YOUR colours, Netscape gives me YOUR ivory but MY yellow text, cyan links etc. Yellow text on ivory is not easy!!!

Secondly, there are some situations where I am totally stymied: the dreaded <font color = "..."> command. If you make your font colour some dark colour but fail to set your background there is no way that I can read your page other than by downloading the source and re-editing.

My request, indeed my appeal, is that

a) Anyone who sets ANY colour attribute should set ALL the colour attributes.

b) Anyone who uses the font colour command should firstly have set the colour attributes.

The HTML syntax I am referring to are:

<body background="image_file_name.jpg"> used to set an image background

<body bgcolor="#200000" text="#eeff00" link="#00ffff" VLINK="#ffffff" alink="#ff0000"> where bgcolor is the background, text and link are self explanatory, vlink is previously visited link and alink is currently active link.

<font color = "#000000"> sets the colour of the font.

Note the string "#xxyyzz" set the red, Green, Blue components of the colour so that "#000000" is black, "#FFFFFF" is white, "#FF0000" is red and "#FFFF00" is yellow. However you can just write "#white" or "#magenta" etc.

Remember, the simplest way to avoid any problems is not to use colour attributes at all. In which case every reader of your page sees the page in their own preferred colours.

Perhaps I am missing the point but your page is NOT good.

What do you think?

Best wishes,

Tony Heyes, Perceptual Alternatives, Melbourne, Australia.


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Copyright Liddy Nevile 23 September 1998. This material may be copied if source is acknowledged.