[Vit-discuss] CSS mods: low vision, a first step (patch) (fwd)

Hugh Sasse hgs at dmu.ac.uk
Fri Dec 1 13:53:13 EST 2006

On Fri, 1 Dec 2006, John W. Long wrote:

> Hugh Sasse wrote:
> > At the moment I have only addressed the problems for those with low acuity,
> > who will need better contrast and bigger text.  This is an area more
> > familiar to me than the other areas that need addressing.  Once there
> > is one alternate stylesheet, and the mechanism established for others, 
> > I'm sure you'll get contributions for other matters.
> Hugh,
> Since the differences between this stylesheet and the old stylesheet are 
> minimal I've opted not to use this for Ruby-Lang.org. I do appreciate 

The changes are small, but significant.  The present setup causes me
physical pain to read.  I don't have stats for visual impairment, but
I know there are others with worse sight than me who don't use speech
and braille for this.  I have also kept the changes small so that 
I don't completely change the aesthetics of the site.  It may well
be worth being more adventurous, but that seems inappropriate for
a first submission.

> your work on it. My worry is that the maintenance needs for alternate 
> stylesheets will outweigh their value. Particularly, as newer browsers 

Let's take each one on its merits?

> are released and the need to revisit stylesheets becomes apparent.  One 
> of the hazards of maintaining multiple versions of a product is that it 
> can greatly reduce the speed in which changes can be made. Since our 

I'm all in favour of not breaking DRY, but doesn't this just mean that
the stylesheets should be automatically generated?  Maybe we need
some kind of discussion about what tools exist to maintain slightly 
different versions of documents.  Beyond an original and patches I
don't know of common practice in this area.

OTOH, can CSS do #include or require or something to manage changes?
(I don't work in CSS that often, so am not au fait with its lesser
used features).  A quick hunt through the spec suggests @import
may be applicable here


so some refactoring may be possible.

Anyway, isn't the whole point of a CMS to manage this kind of

> staff for Ruby-Lang is entirely volunteer at the moment it seems prudent 
> that we minimize the maintenance needs of the site.
> I hope that this doesn't come as too much of a letdown for you. I 

Well, if the site were more accessible I'd explore it more and contribute.
Plus, Ruby is not principally GUI based, and as such is accessible to 
blind people.  There is no assumption (apart from the association with
Rails) that GUI work is an integral part of the Ruby scene.  Thus 
excluding people by not considering accessibility on the main site will
stop some people becoming rubyists when there is no other reason for
them to be put off.  I've been put off using Squeak because the GUI
was inaccessible to me.

> suspect that Ruby-Lang will outgrow the current design at some point in 

Websites always change, or die completely.

> the next year or two which means that we will probably need to revisit 
> the design then. Perhaps we can address the issues you have raised at 
> that time.

I have put quite a bit of work into Ruby, particularly its
documentation, getting a whole slew of files added into the Rdoc set
for 1.8.5 by working on the .document files, for example.  Now it
feels as though I'm being told to go away for a year or two.  It's
pretty difficult not to take offence at this.  I have, after all,
contributed a patch which solves the problem for me, and may provoke
discussion, so it isn't like I'm just complaining.  If the patching
process is straightforward I would be willing to contribute further,
but I can't speak for others with differing needs.  Once I see how
the patch plays out, and affects other pages on the site and other
people, I may have other contributions.


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