I received an e-mail from someone from the Web Accessibility Initiative - WAI, who had read our Article on Custom StyleSheets on brugbart - asking me if i knew of anyone who was using them, either when browsing the web or when viewing other digital files.
I was on my way out to buy some food, but ended up writing this article as a response instead. After all, why send an e-mail, when you can put it on your website. Hopefully i can still make it before closing time. lol!
Custom StyleSheets and Usability
I do not know of anyone personally who use custom StyleSheets - i suspect that its mostly web-designers and random "nerds" who uses the article - it is one of the more popular articles on Brugbart though.
Something you should know - when i wrote the Article, i had to dig really deep to figure out how to use these Custom StyleSheets with different browsers - some browsers where more apparent about it then others. It would seem that the developers of certain browsers doesn't even expect users to use Custom StyleSheets, as the documentation on where they are located, and how they are activated, is poor and almost non-existent.
What i think people would find useful, is native browser accessibility tools, that they can disable and enable as they want. No plugins that stop working every time they update their browser or additional half-made programs from third parties. They would likely also prefer that everything was accesible trough a GUI in the browser, so that they won't have to learn about custom StyleSheets - i know that i would!
Usability Outside the Browser
The problem is not just inside the browser - the browser has solutions - operating systems are completely retarded in how they handle font sizes and window sizes.
Someone i know is using a tool called "Virtual Magnifying Glass", its freeware and can be downloaded from: http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/ - this tool overcomes the problems in windows related to simply changing the text-size of GUI elements and/or the DPI of the screen.
The build-in handicap tools in windows will sometimes make certain elements unusable. I.e. Text is unreadable because the GUI elements doesn't resize properly with the text - yes if it did, it may create a situation where you don't have enough room on-screen, but that could easily be solved with horizontal and vertical scrollbars, either on the desktop, or in the GUI window.
There really isn't any problems in having a horizontal or vertical scrollbar appear when required - I'd personally rather have that, then a huge non-resizable GUI window where the essential GUI controls is located outside the screen, where the user cant reach them with the mouse!
If you have ever played RTS games, then you will already feel inspired as of how a horizontal or vertical scrollbar could work in the future - I'd say that simply moving the mouse to the edge of the screen should move the viewpoint.
Its really starting to get silly, when someone without disabilities starts to feel disabled.. I've likely not seen it all yet, but i have seen a lot. A few examples:
- One time i accidentally double clicked gray area in the task manager of windows, the result was that the file menu, and other important controls disappeared - man i got pissed, (this "feature" is totally retarded).
- I've also had non-resizable windows appear on a low (likely 640x480) screen-resolution, and buttons appearing outside the screen, preventing me from clicking them normally - this is where blindly tabbing your way to the right button comes in, and sometimes that doesn't even work for some reason, sigh..!
The first one was really stupid, and nearly had me blame Malware, but then i somehow figured out about the double click thing.
Anyway, if anyone here uses Custom StyleSheets with usability in mind, tell us about how in the comments - maybe you use them to change the font-size, color, background. Etc. Maybe you just use them to hide Ads on certain websites?