Styling Unknown Markup

Jacob Farber jacob.farber at
Mon Nov 10 14:43:34 UTC 2008

Are you sure all these images are up to date?
If I remember correctly, the "uPortal example with high contrast, font-size
140%, Verdana, wide text spacing:" resulted in a very different look. It
should show the icons replaced with white blocks, and a consistent high
contrast appearance...I could be wrong.

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 9:34 AM, <michelle.dsouza at> wrote:

> Hi,
> One of the many tasks associated with the work of UI Options is the
> ability to style unknown markup. Jacob and I have been experimenting
> with our high contrast skin and some of Fluid Infusion's in context
> examples to find out how much we can do without knowing anything about
> the markup.
> As we expected, there were many places where CSS collisions resulted
> in a page that had styling issues. We knew that we were going to hit
> some of these issues given the experience of the Transformable
> project. We also know that if the user provides us with contextual
> information about the markup we can do a better job of restyling the
> page. What we are trying to do is the best possible job with no
> additional information.
> The five issues that remain after our changes to the existing high
> contrast skin are:
> 1. font size in form controls was not adjusted
> This is an area that we still need to do some research and experimentation.
> 2. font sizes that had been specified using pt, px, x- were not adjusted
> This is because we are using relative sizing for fonts. We think this
> is a better way to go and perhaps the answer here is to advise the
> integrator to also use relative sizing for their out of the box CSS.
> 3. icons that were background images on empty anchors were removed
> We felt that the heavy handed approach of removing background images
> was appropriate for a high contrast skin. This will not be appropriate
> for our other skins so the larger issue of background and foreground
> colours will need to be dealt with as we move forward. In this
> particular case, we could use a strategy of adding the 'alt text' of
> an empty anchor to the UI when we remove the background image.
> 4. iframes were not restyled
> We can solve this by finding the iframes in the page and injecting the
> required style-sheets and class names.
> 5. things that were styled using important were not adjusted
> There is not much we can do about this given the rules of CSS. Likely
> the only option here is to implement a hinting strategy where the
> integrator can provide us with more information about the markup.
> You can see the results of our experiments on the wiki.
> Michelle
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Jacob Farber
University of Toronto - ATRC
Tel: (416) 946-3002
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