Big, Stark & Chunky

by Joe Clark

49 Reader Comments

Back to the Article
  1. Ironically, the link in your comment isn’t underlined.

    If the link color (for links outside of context) is consistent throughout the site and sufficiently distinct from the normal text color then underlining is not necessary.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  2. “I turn off link underlines, because they reduce readability”

    That’s a slap in the face for accessibility people who advocate all links should be underlined!

    “Shame what only works in IE?”

    The WorksView software described in the comment above mine.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  3. TechDis used to have a create-your-own-stylesheet wizard which was fairly simply to use (http://www.techdis.ac.uk/seven/wizards/) but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.  The principle was sound though and could be reinvestigated.  Of course, it’s all about knowing where to find it, too…

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  4. I am not visually impaired yet I found myself using a little favelet to zap pages with black or very dark background all the time. And then I turn up font sizes a few notches.

    Two buttons, ‘change colors’ and ‘change layout’ in the top left corner might be a good solution. One could cycle through a set of color schemes and layout options independently and save it in a cookie.

    Any non-default selection could force all links to be underlined.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  5. I’ve added a stylesheet to my website to give users maximum flexibility in their preferred visuals of the site.

    The site is located at http://www.noipo.org and the stylesheet can be selected through ‘preferences’.

    It’s quite simple, I’ve done nothing but styling the navigational items a bit and leave the rest up to the browser settings.

    Navigation is before content, but since the navigation area is flexible in size I haven’t figured out a way to put it below the content in the mark-up, but above the content using CSS.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  6. I described my personal user agent choices as it relates to my visual abilities and aesthetic preferences.

    “That’s a slap in the face for accessibility people who advocate all links should be underlined!”

    I = me. I >< people who advocate underlined links.

    As long as the links are semantically distinct, every user gets choice. Many browsers I’ve used don’t offer a “personal style sheet,” but every one I’ve used offers an “underline links?” toggle.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  7. I wrote an implementation hack for an automated method of recognizing zoom layouts using rev=“zoom”:

    http://axxlog.wordpress.net/archives/2005/01/14/zoom-hack/

    It may or may not be of interest. I dunno.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  8. As a student, I am really appreciating everything that I learn from this site. It is great that we can provide so many accessibility options for people who would otherwise not be able to use the Internet.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  9. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) recommends the use of Clear Print instead of large print. A one-page summary of the Clear Print recommendations can be found at http://www.shef.ac.uk/secu/clear_print_guidelines.pdf

    Their site, with lots more info, is at http://www.rnib.org.uk; check in the “Good Design” section (link at the top of the page).

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  10. http://www.rnib.org.uk

    (the semi-colon in my previous post screwed up the link)

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  11. Actually, no, the RNIB does not “recommend the use of clear print instead of large print.” The document (a PDF) says: “the RNIB advocate[s] clear print as an alternative to large print…. For many partially-sighted people, well-designed print information at 12 or 14 point is satisfactory.” Nobody’s replacing anything here.

    They then go on to queer the deal by essentially recommending you use New Century Schoolbook bold (or, I suppose, “Universe” bold, whatever that is). If that isn’t horrific enough for you, you can always follow their recommendation to use Arial bold without italics. By the way, what are “ornate” typefaces? I have a vague idea, but the last time I saw one of those was a tattoo on a guy’s back in blackletter.

    We are, in any event, discussing Web sites and not print.

    I would be rather surprised if the RNIB, known for its truculence and touchiness about Web accessibility (and for resolutely questionable advice for same), actually has verifiable research to back up the eyebrow-raising claims in this document.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  12. Tea Bore: > Two buttons, ‘change colors’ and ‘change layout’ in the top left corner might be a good solution.

    These functions should provide browser or OS on any page. Why implement “low-vision support” to every website? The only way is to improve browser and OS. Some applications do that even today (Opera, IE with Web Accessibility Toolbar etc.) so, why not the others?

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  13. I agree to Chris Hester’s post [1], he just takes the words out of my mouth – several things need to be differentiated, be it existing features or alternative workarounds.

    Setting up a preferences page must of course be subject of further testing.


    [1] http://alistapart.com/discuss/lowvision/#c9807

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  14. I’ve skimmmed through the comments quickly, but I didn’t see anything about my query. If we have a single column but fixed width layout, like many of the ‘current’ designs, to what extent do we need ‘zoom’ layouts?
    If someone has poor vision, I’m guessing they’d use a lower resolution to make everything bigger? In that instance the single column would be nearly full width, and the only thing in danger would be a horizontal navigation bar…
    Or have I missed something somewhere?

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  15. If a user has standard assistive technologies installed, the feature in this article results in a “double zoom”. A violation of s508 since it constitutes interfering with an existing assistive technology.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  16. I’m glad to see discussion seems to be expanding to address the vast majority of people with visual impairments (VI). Most people with VI have some vision. In fact, only about 10% of the blind/VI population in the U.S. are totally blind. And yet most of the talk about acessibility seems to assume that users have no vision.

    I wonder how many web designers have really spent time watching how someone with a visual impairment, or any disability, works at a computer. My guess, not so many. A field trip to an agenty in your community that work with people with blindness and VI’s might be worth doing. Go see how someone really uses the computer, and what kind of technology is really being used.

    It’s great to read about studies and best practices, but nothing replaces experience. And just like any usability study, people don’t always do what you might expect, they do what is effective for them.

    By the way, I once did some training, in another field, using some devices that simulated some of the more typical types of VI. It was pretty revealing. If you are really intereted in this, mobility trainers (professionals who teach people with vision loss how to move about in the world) have these devices, and you can simulate this yoruself.

    Jeff

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  17. For me, I love CSS and XHTML layouts – but I don’t really see what the point of creating an inverted CSS style, as most users that I know who are visually impaired will either have this turned on my default on their PC or Mac, or they’ll hate it!!

    And using an inverted stylesheet in this mode means they have to turn off their own settings!!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  18. Paul Ely, someone using a screen magnifier would have to opt into a zoom layout, just as someone not using a screen magnifier would. And it is not at all clear that a zoom layout that never exceeded the sides of the screen would be harmful to a user of assistive technology. So the zoom layout makes everything 15% bigger and the device makes it a further 50% bigger. I mean, you can’t just dial back your device to a lower magnification?

    So no, in fact, using a zoom layout causes no affront whatsoever to 508.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  19. This article recommends doing nothing to images in this zoom process.

    I am currently struggling with a way to make images of maps as clear as I can for anyone with less than excellent vision. Maps are very detailed, and while I am providing text information alongside the map, many individuals are very visual learners, and a blurry map with a text description isn’t going to do them a whole lot of good. Why not provide an option to a larger and clear image?

    Dagmar

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.