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University Web Developers

Disabling style-sheets? Does anyone know user(s) who actually do this?

As part of 508 check I have to disable style-sheets and check the layout of the page. I've run into a problem, and it made me start thinking about who it is that actually disables CSS. If you disable CSS in Firefox using the Accessibility Toolbar, then this will only disable CSS for the page you are on. Go to a new page and CSS is enabled again. Do users actually select to disable stylesheets for every page they go to? Perhaps, there is another way in which they permanently disable CSS? And do these users who have CSS disabled ever have Javascript enabled?

I'd really appreciate any answers in this regard, but didn't want to e-mail the list as I'd like to find a fix today.

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Replies to This Discussion

This page from WebAim does a good job of explaining the accessibility issues related to CSS:

http://www.webaim.org/techniques/css/
Thanks for the link, interesting stuff, but it doesn't really answer the question at all. I'm looking to see if there are actually any users out there who disable CSS. This is what the 508 guidelines say to do, disable CSS in order to check for accessibility, but do any users ever actually disable CSS? Maybe they customize it sure, but do they disable it?

If it helps, the reason for the question, is that I am using a JQuery plugin which produces errors if CSS is disabled, but I am fundamentally interested in whether or not anyone actually disables CSS as I have never seen a user do this or heard from the accessibility testers of a user who does this.
I disable css occasionally for a few reasons. 1- If the font is so small/bad that I can't read it, and zooming in destroys the layout. 2- To do a check (as a dev), which tells me the reading order of the page...

How?
In firefox, this is done by doing View > Page Style > no style. It stays like that in the tab but CSS is turned back on when a new tab opens. I bet you can override that if the user is savvy enough.
Ryan,

That is kind of my point, are we saying that disabled/accessibility needs users will have to disable their CSS each and every time they go to a new web page? This is why I have doubts that there is even such a user which always has CSS disabled (if that is even possible, I'm sure it probably is but so far haven't seen how).
The idea here is not that a disabled user will use a traditional browser with CSS turned off, but instead that some Assistive Technologies don't utilize CSS. By turning CSS off, you can get a better idea how these technologies wil work, especially with the concept of linearization. Another good testing method is using a text only browser like lynx.
Yes, I agree on the lynx idea, and do use it to test, but I guess I will need to find out from the accessibility committee or find some online source that lists these Assistive Technologies that don't utilize CSS, because if one of these tools disables all CSS, but also disables all Javascript then there is no point to trying to make a Javascript function work when CSS is disabled or vice-versa.
Mark,

Can you name an assistive technology that doesn't utilize CSS?

Which version of Firefox are you using for this to work?

Woops!  Ignore my reply.  Would help if I checked the date of the post.  I am joining a conversation that happened 4 years ago. :)

Name an assistive technology in use that doesn't use CSS.
For instance, any screen reader.

CSS does a ton of stuff, for instance, hiding, or otherwise controlling the position of content on a page. When it isn't rendered, the overall flow of a page can be altered dramatically, thus changing how something like a screen reader processes the page.

An example might be laying out a page in the following order: Navigation -> Body -> Header -> Footer
Then you use CSS to reorder things, like move the header to the top, and put the navigation after the body and float it right. How this page looks in a normal browser compared to a screen reader is significantly different.
I have gotten nothing but generic replies from this thread which is very disappointing, but what is even more disappointing is that you are either quite confused or just wrong on this matter.

The question is: Does anyone actually disable stylesheets?

Jaws, the screen reader I am most familiar with does not disable stylesheets. Check it out: http://www.freedomscientific.com/fs_support/BulletinView.asp?QC=1165

I ask a specific question and no one has answered it, which makes me believe that this 'test case' for 508 compliance testing doesn't actually exist.

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