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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Site test and how important is css?

    I've redesigned a site I did a couple of years ago and have tried to make it accessible as possible. The layout is css reliant but I know for sure it works in IE and NS4+ as well as Mozilla 1.0 and Opera 6.05.

    I've two issues here, firstly can you please test and let me know if there is anything strange? Only the home page and most of the history links are up. I realise too that the layout only fits 800x600 and above.
    link to site

    Secondly, just regarding css. Such is the layout, I rely entirely on the stylesheet but have read that a site should also be accessible should a user choose to ignore stylesheets. How big an issue is this? Should I reconsider my design? I really don't think there's anyway I could keep the same layout and suit all browsers, old and new without the use for css.

  2. #2
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Re: Site test and how important is css?

    Originally posted by Daz
    a site should also be accessible should a user choose to ignore stylesheets.
    the keyword here is "accessible", meaning the site conveys the information and can be used by anybody, regardless of their browser, potential disability etc. in simple terms, it does NOT mean "the site needs to look pretty". so, even if it looks really bad in netscape 4.7, but the information is displayed, the links are working, images are properly ALT-texted, etc, you're fine.
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    When they say that your site should be accessible without stylesheets, they don't mean that the design should be the same (in fact, when people turn off CSS, you can safely assume that the design doesn't mean much to them at all). All it means is that your site should be comprehendible with or without CSS--don't make your page need CSS to be understandable.

    For instance, check your site in Bobby and see if it still makes sense. (You did pretty good, actually--one simple fix to pass the automated checks. :-)


    ~~Ian

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks for your feedback guys, I really appreciate it. That one thing I need to fix Ian, is it the whitespace thing between the links, I have a "|" character, is that not sufficient?
    Last edited by Daz; Jan 10, 2003 at 12:48.

  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    test your site in lynx http://www.fdisk.com/doslynx/lynxport.htm . if it works, the content flows as it should, and you can navigate it...then it's all good
    caveat: do check your site with netscape 4.7 when doing more advanced CSS. i came across cases in which all of a sudden a div is overlapping another div containing the site navigation...something like this would obviously make the site inaccessible for ns 4.7 users...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard dragonfly_7456's Avatar
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    Mainly, you shouldn't use css for things like, "item positioning and such", because, if css is turned off, your whole layout is totaly messed...

    I would advise to stick to tables, but thats just me

    I really like what you did witht the css, and plus it showed up quite well without the css on the bobby check. No need to worry there, because almost everybody nowadays uses css.
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  7. #7
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dragonfly_7456
    Mainly, you shouldn't use css for things like, "item positioning and such", because, if css is turned off, your whole layout is totaly messed...
    if i'm not mistaken, unlike javascript, it's not that easy to switch off CSS...but if you mean switched off as in "not available", that's where correct document flow comes into play, i.e. the divs and such should be in a logical sequence in the source (regardless of their position onscreen if CSS was available). as long as the content can be accessed, and the navigation works, the site is accessible. it may not be pretty (usually, if a visual browser does not understand the CSS positioning, it displays everything in a linear fashion *cough*Netscape 4.x*cough*). it may look boring and bland (no background, every div one after the other), but the site IS accessible...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard dragonfly_7456's Avatar
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    But still, you could just stick to tables and everything would be fine. But that still doesn't make tables the best. Divs are MUCH easier to code, and they load quicker. Plus, when loading tables, netscape (maybe IE as well) waits until the whole table is loaded, while with divs, it loads it in parts. Divs are easy to manage, and they are really flexible. But, I'm going to stick to tables this year. Maybe when netscape 4.x is wiped off the face of this planet... I guess I'll never be happy...
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  9. #9
    killall -9 lusers
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    Originally posted by dragonfly_7456
    But still, you could just stick to tables and everything would be fine.
    Not necessarily. Tables can cause content to appear "jumbled" in a text-only or aural browser. If you use divs, you can at least ensure that the document still makes sense when the source is read top to bottom.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard dragonfly_7456's Avatar
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    Yeah, thats possibly the most important difference.
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  11. #11
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    the keyword here is "accessible", meaning the site conveys the information and can be used by anybody, regardless of their browser, potential disability etc. in simple terms, it does NOT mean "the site needs to look pretty".
    The term 'degrades gracefully' is the one you'll see bandied about most.

    As for the separators between links, you could try the approach I took with accessify: Use dividers with a class to hide them in full CSS browsers but which will appear in simple text browsers and such like.

    Code:
    <span class="hide"> | </span> <a href="/tools-and-wizards/default.asp"
    This way it will pass the relevant WCAG Priority 2 checkpoint but not look pants.
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