ACTION-24: suggest accessibility improvement for "Big issue" marker

suggest accessibility improvement for "Big issue" marker

Dan Connolly
Due on:
February 21, 2008
Created on:
November 16, 2007
Associated Issue:
Related emails:
  1. {minutes} HTML WG teleconference 2007-11-06 [resend] (from on 2007-12-11)
  2. Re: ACTION-24: suggest accessibility improvement for 'Big issue' marker (from on 2007-12-03)
  3. ACTION-24: suggest accessibility improvement for 'Big issue' marker (from on 2007-12-03)

Related notes:

Dan Connolly, 16 Nov 2007, 22:23:18

1. in the editor's draft of HTML5, there are 6 CSS style rules which need to be translated from hexidecimal to named colors:

[1] pre.idl { border: solid thin; background: #EEEEEE; color: black; padding: 0.5em; }

[2] @media screen { code { color: rgb(255, 69, 0); background: transparent; } }

[3] .example { display: block; color: #222222; background: #FCFCFC; border-left: double; margin-left: 1em; padding-left: 1em; }

[4][5] .issue, .big-issue { color: #E50000; background: white; border: solid red; padding: 0.5em; margin: 1em 0; }

[6] .element { background: #EEEEFF; color: black; margin: 0 0 1em -1em; padding: 0 1em 0.25em 0.75em; border-left: solid #9999FF 0.25em; }

GJR is working on specific alternate proposals, which will be linked-to these notes

2. since the style rules defined for .issue and .big-issue are identical, no one (sighted or otherwise) can determine from the styling what is an "issue" and what is a "big issue"

3. the offer/attempt to add context using CSS-generated text (for example, using :before and :after to generate content which marks the beginning of a "big issue" and the end of a "big issue") is appreciated, but support for CSS-generated text is extremely spotty to non-existent; most GUI screen readers, which have to scrape the screen (technical term: create an on-screen model) of the page (in effect, a snapshot of the page as rendered at a particular time) in order to scrape the generated content, so as to expose it to a screen reader or refreshable braille display... since AT and UA support for CSS-generated content is poor to spotty, research is being conducted to ascertain what works with today's technologies... to this end, i have begun to mount some tests of generated content to gather hard data on support for generated content in screen readers - consult:

to which a simple test document is attached:

the results of tests of this resource are archived in the following thread:

4. the inability of screen readers and other AT to detect background and foreground colors using hexadecimal or RGB values as a bug with several developers of open source assistive technologies (such as Orca and NVDA) and such functionality has been submitted as a "feature request" to major commercial AT developers; currently the capacity to detect font color changes to effect a vocal characteristics change is not supported by any of the screen reader developers or implementors -- however, the lead of the Orca project, Willie Walker, agreed that the capacity to detect changes defined with hex or rgb notation is an eminently implementable feature for a screen reader, and it
has been entered into the Orca bug queue

Gregory Rosmaita, 22 Nov 2007, 18:29:46

1. what would be of great assistance would be semantic markers in the text of the HTML5 draft indicating inserted and deleted text, using <INS> and <DEL>, as well as considering encasing asides, ToDo, and other markers which currently use visual conventions to express their function, in the EM and/or STRONG elements, so that there are structural markers which are capable of communicating the state of the text -- rendered visually via the style sheet -- declaratively. of course, the EM and STRONG elements (and their sub-classed children) can be styled in whatever manner the editor desires, as long as that styling is tied firmly to semantic markers (which is why i suggest using EM and STRONG and not SPAN) -- EM and STRONG have meaning (for example, an ISSUE might be marked by an EM in the document source and styled however the editor wants, whilst a "big issue" could be marked using the STRONG element to identify it declaratively (rather than stylistically) as a "Big Issue"

Gregory Rosmaita, 22 Nov 2007, 18:45:51

please update the due date, GR

Dan Connolly, 18 Dec 2007, 22:07:39

GR, you're welcome to make a better estimate; meanwhile, I'm postponing to 10 Jan

Dan Connolly, 18 Dec 2007, 22:15:48

I closed/withdrew this action w.r.t. the 1st WD of the HTML 5 spec, but I see there's an ongoing issue about accessibility of our WDs, so I'm re-opening this action under that issue.

Dan Connolly, 23 Jan 2008, 17:51:13

postponing, and moving to Dan since he reopened it. :)

Chris Wilson, 15 Feb 2008, 00:49:39

GR, feel free to re-open this, provided you set the due date in the future.

Dan Connolly, 10 Mar 2008, 02:16:01

Display change log.

Paul Cotton <>, Maciej Stachowiak <>, Sam Ruby <>, Chairs, Michael[tm] Smith <>, Staff Contact
Tracker: documentation, (configuration for this group), originally developed by Dean Jackson, is developed and maintained by the Systems Team <>.
$Id: index.php,v 1.323 2013-12-19 14:47:09 dom Exp $