facetofcathy: four equal blocks of purple and orange shades with a rusty orange block centred on top (Default)
[personal profile] facetofcathy
That post I made after the AO3 skins accessibility fail about colour contrast.

(Yes, I read FFA sometimes, and yes the problem with that banner is the contrast. And the whole providing information via an image is Always. Bad. Design.)

And if you're in the market for a cutting edge contrast tool that lets you test semi-transparent colours, try out this one: Contrast Ratio



So, yeah, that banner on the AO3.

I'm not even going to bother testing it, the colour and brightness contrast would fail any usability test. The text shadow makes it worse. And that's before even discussing the fact that it's an image conveying information.

These sorts of graphical banners, they are part of our fannish culture. They date back long before LJ and DW made it easy to slap up a graphic as a background image on the top of a community page. They are our art, our design, our decor, our architecture, our history and again, or culture.

But they aren't good web design if they contain text or obscure other text.

I'm sorry person who made this AO3 donation banner and the person who made that Beta banner in the footer and every collection owner ever who put text in their collection graphics, and the person who put those graphics on top of the footer links. I'm sorry, but I'm once again shitting all over your creations.

Appropriate ways to put text information on a webpage:

1. as text

2. see 1.

Why?

Because only text can be controlled by the user. And many users NEED to control the text on a site. And hey, some just want to, I think they matter too.

But, but, it's art, you say. Delightful, make lots of art, make it in any colour you want however you want, but users deserve to control the text. Deserve. Are entitled to. And if you think your art matters more, than you have chosen to value only some users. Choice. Not an accident.

But, but, Alt text!!!

Yup, and if the world was populated only by fully normative sighted users on broadband connections and screen reader users, that would be fab. But we come in all sorts, and there's myriad reasons to turn off images (Opera does it really easily, if you need that feature).

See above about control of text--you can't control alt text in most browsers very well and it doesn't wrap correctly. That's why if you turn off images on the AO3 you get the gigantic H1 font on the world's longest alt text on the logo in a fully unreadable way for a visual user (which covers up the alt text on the banner for me). That logo alt text should say, "AO3 Logo" by the way, not describe the shape of it.

So these banners are fine if the text is repeated elsewhere (in which case don't repeat it again in the Alt text), but not okay as the sole source of information. And it's one thing to do bad usability on an LJ comm, but the AO3 is supposed to be an order of magnitude more serious than an LJ comm.

And it's getting really tiresome that the AO3s accessibility policy is, "do it however you like and wait for someone to tell us it's wrong." Because my experience tells me that a lot of volunteers at the AO3 don't roll like that at all.

And sorry, this might be a shitty thing to do, but comments are screened. I find fandom something I can only bear to skim the surface of these days.
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facetofcathy: four equal blocks of purple and orange shades with a rusty orange block centred on top (Default)
facetofcathy

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