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Category: Accessibility

That Time I Tried Browsing the Web Without CSS

CSS is what gives every website its design. Websites sure aren’t very fun and friendly without it! I’ve read about somebody going a week without JavaScript and how the experience resulted in websites that were faster, though certain aspects of them would not function as expected. But CSS. Turning off CSS while browsing the web wouldn’t exactly make the web far less usable… right? Or, like JavaScript, would some features not work as expected? Out of curiosity, I decided to give it a whirl and rip the CSS flesh off the HTML skeleton while browsing a few sites. Why, you might ask? Are there any non-masochistic reasons for turning off CSS? Heydon Pickering once tweeted that disabling CSS is a good way to check some accessibility standards: Common elements like headings, lists, and form controls are semantic and still look good. A visual hierarchy is still established with default styles. The content can still be read in a logical order. Images still exist as tags rather than getting lost as CSS backgrounds. A WebAIM survey from 2018 reported that 12.5% of users who rely on any sort of assisted technology browse the web with custom stylesheets, which can include doing away with every CSS declaration across a site. And, if we’re talking about slow internet connections, ditching CSS could be one way to consume content faster. There’s also the...

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Inclusively Hidden

Scott O’Hara recently published “Inclusively Hidden,” a nice walkthrough of the different ways to hide things on the web. Nothing is ever cut and dry when it comes to the web! What complicates this is that hidden begs the question: hidden for whom? Different answers to that have different solutions: Hidden for everyone? display: none; or visibility: hidden; or the hidden attribute. (But watch out for that hidden attribute, says Monica Dinculescu.) Hidden visually, but present for assistive tech? A .screen-reader-only class with a smattering of properties to do the job correctly. Hidden for assistive tech, but not visually? The aria-hidden="true" attribute/value. It’s worth grokking all this because it’s is a perfect example of why HTML and CSS is not some easy bolt-on skill for front-end web development. This is critical stuff that isn’t done as correctly as it should be. If you like video, I did one called “Hiding Things with CSS” that goes over a lot of this. As I write this, I’m freshly back from Smashing Conf in San Francisco. Sara Soueidan had a wonderful talk that covered some “hiding things” situations that are even less intuitive than what we might be accustomed to seeing. One thing she covered was the inert attribute and how it can be used to skip interactive elements from keyboard tabbing. It can even be used on a parent element, nullifying...

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Accessibility Events

“There isn’t some way to know when—…?” There is always a pause here. The client knows what they’re asking, and I know what they’re asking, but putting it into words—saying it out loud—turns unexpectedly difficult. In the moments before the asking, it was a purely technical question—no different from “can we do this when a user is on their phone.” But there’s always a pause, because this question doesn’t come easy; not like all the other questions about browsers and connection speeds did. A phrase like “in an assisted browsing context” doesn’t spring to mind as readily as “on a phone,” “in Internet Explorer,” or “on a slow connection.” The former, well, that’s something I would say—a phrase squarely in the realm of accessibility consultants. The latter the client can relate to. They have a phone, they’ve used other browsers, they’ve been stuck with slow internet connections. “There isn’t some way to know when—… a user is… using something like a screen reader…?” An easy question that begets a complicated answer is standard fare for almost any exchange with a web developer. This answer has, for a long time, been a refreshing deviation from that norm: “no, we can’t.” The matter is, I’ll offer, technically impossible; computers, you see, can’t talk to each other that way. Often, there’s a palpable relief here: “no” to the technical part; “no” to...

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Using <details> for Menus and Dialogs is an Interesting Idea

One of the most empowering things you can learn as a new front-end developer who is starting to learn JavaScript is to change classes. If you can change classes, you can use your CSS skills to control a lot on a page. Toggle a class to one thing, style it this way, toggle to another class (or remove it) and style it another way. But there is an HTML element that also does toggles! ! For example, it’s definitely the quickest way to build an accordion UI. Extending that toggle-based thinking, what is a user menu if not for...

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The Dark Side of the Grid

Manuel Matuzovic makes the point that in order to use CSS grid in some fairly simple markup scenarios, we might be tempted to flatten our HTML to make sure all the elements we need to can participate on the grid. What we need is subgrid and non-buggy display: contents;, so I’d like to think in a year or so we’ll be past this. Direct Link to Article — Permalink The post The Dark Side of the Grid appeared first on CSS-Tricks....

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