Updates to FSS

Gary Thompson gary at unicon.net
Fri Feb 25 17:42:01 UTC 2011

Hi Colin, 

I'm super excited that you're super excited, and I was super-excited regardless; the feel-good meter is rising! :) 

The UI Options wireframes look good, I am glad to see that component is moving forward. 

In regards to FSS: 

1. Yes, I understand the need for the !important was for UI Options (from where FSS originated) where it's applied stylesheets needed to be guaranteed to "win" over whatever Wild West styling it was applied to. There is still a need for UI Options to be able to ensure its styling wins. I remember talking about some form of "registration" of UI Options with the host system, and perhaps varying levels of customization depending on the level of integration with the host system. Maybe UI Options registration can configure the css somewhat, or maybe !important statemtents are applied to FSS only when UI Options is in use? I would agree that FSS does not use !important in it's default state. 

2. This *is* an interesting one. And I should have been more clear. When the global :focus is declared by FSS, it works well in some interactions (like drag and drop) where a very obvious focus is needed, but has undesired results for other interactions, like putting focus on the tabs within a tab navigation bar, where another form of focus/hover is already being used, and the additional FSS focus over-emphasizes the element visually. It also resulted in a few visual-hiccups, depending on where the focus was. The problem really is that once :focus has been set globally, it cannot be returned to default browser behavior. The reaction we have gotten from accessibility-conscious institutions is a desire to have it behave "normally" and then have the focus behavior change/be more emphasized only in more targeted interactions (like drag and drop). So yes, I would agree that we not override the default in the reset, but rather provide more workable focus highlights and provide them as options. 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Colin Clark" <colinbdclark at gmail.com> 
To: "Gary Thompson" <gary at unicon.net> 
Cc: fluid-work at fluidproject.org 
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:50:37 PM GMT -07:00 U.S. Mountain Time (Arizona) 
Subject: Re: Updates to FSS 

Hey Gary, 

We're all super excited that you're able to lend a hand with FSS, and it's such good timing! The main goal for Infusion 1.4, which we're starting on tomorrow, is to substantially improve both FSS and UI Options. 

James has posted his latest draft wireframes for UI Options on the wiki, in case you're curious: 


Some further comments inline... 

On 2011-02-18, at 5:37 PM, Gary Thompson wrote: 

> 1. Use of !important statements makes overriding FSS declarations troublesome (results in a requiring a lot of other !important declarations downstream). The suggested fix is to remove all uses of !important and allow normal CSS priority. 

My understanding is that many of the !importants in FSS were originally added for UI Options' sake. It was a quick hack at the time, ensuring that UI Options could successfully override critical styles on any page by simply swapping a few class names in the document. 

It was never a scalable solution, and I agree that we should remove all instances of !important in the FSS. While we're doing this work, let's coordinate it with the development of a new strategy in UI Options. Michelle and I have started to mull it over, but ideas and suggestions are very welcome. 

> 2. Declaration of a global :focus overrides the browser's defualt focus behavior in an undesired manner. Unicon works primarily with higher-education institutions for whom compliance with accessibility law is a big deal. This particular global :focus override issue has come up as a negative with several instiutions that want/need the defualt browser behavior. The suggested fix is to remove the global :focus declaration. 

This is an interesting one. We added this default focus style specifically to improve accessibility. I think there are a few bugs in the implementation, however. The question is, do we want to remove this default altogether as you suggest, or come up with a bug-free and more subtle solution? 

One of the main principles of WCAG 2.0 is to ensure Web content is perceivable to a variety of users. I think our original concern was that the default focus styling of most browsers was too subtle to be noticeable in many cases. I'm thinking, for example, of when users focus each portlet in uPortal with the Reorderer. In such a busy UI, would the browser's default focus styling be sufficient to make it immediately apparent which portlet is currently focused? What are your thoughts on the issue? 

Perhaps the best solution is to provide a variety of workable focus highlights and include them as options in the FSS rather than in the base reset file? 

Other ideas/opinions? 

> As part of Unicon's uPortal Cooperative Development, UP-2921 has been voted to priority and I have hours to work with Fluid to make these suggested changes to FSS. Before I get started with making these changes in Github, I wanted to see if anyone else has feedback or suggestions. 

Let us know how we can help, 


Colin Clark 
Technical Lead, Fluid Project 

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