Malformed site (partly OT).

Tim Hill tim at
Thu Feb 19 14:41:18 GMT 2015

In article <44f5489854.pnyoung at>, Peter Young
<pnyoung at> wrote:
> I maintain the website of the local branch of the Multiple Sclerosis
> Society, at (NB I am only responsible
> for the content, not the formatting). From time to time the site gets
> seriously malformed in RISC OS NetSurf, and then a few days later goes
> back to what is should be. Screenshots of this are at
> as it should be in Chrome on
> Windows and as it was
> yesterday in NetSurf #2600, but it's back to how it should be this
> morning! Same NetSurf build.

That difference is CSS. Perhaps someone knows why NetSurf doesn't always
seem to see their style sheet(s). I have seen this once or twice,  even
in Windows browsers, when the CSS is missing or misnamed. Perhaps just a
slow/busy server and NetSurf is impatient?

> I imagine this is the fault of the site rather than of NetSurf, but I
> would value comments. (OT) If it is the fault of the site, I have a
> feeling that they may be contravening guidance about website
> accessibility for disabled people, and I would be interested in
> comments about this also.

Their cookie top bars are twee, one is superfluous and both are invisible
to NetSurf but to answer your question:

They seem to meet all their claims to accessibility if I use a Windows
mainstream browser but some of their claims are reliant on a browser's
ability to, say, cycle through all links with the <tab> and select them
with <return>. This is common: is that claim met when NetSurf doesn't
provide that facility? In common with much corporate drivel on
accessibility, I wonder whether their accessibility page should have a
disclaimer about 'depending on browser' and not appear to take credit for
a browser feature! All they have done is get things in the right order.
However, as your second image shows, the basic HTML layout seems tidy and
structured which is pretty much what most accessibility implementation is
really all about. Judging by the inhuman CSS file names used nobody codes
any of their pages except via a CMS.

Interesting that text-low-graphics still imposes their choice of layout
and font on the reader. A designer who won't let go? (S/he won't use
standard G+, facebook, Twitter, or YouTube gfx). I thought that partially
sighted readers were meant to be able to use their browser default font?
To all intents and purposes a vanilla page should be the page with no CSS
and only one menu. Having seen a partially sighted user with a huge
monitor and text blown up to four lines a screenful, I learnt to
appreciate the need for a 'basic' option (appreciate =/= implement
always). Scrolling around a cheesy, classic over-menued 'square' page
(skyscraper menu left, menu bar at the top, menu bar at the bottom with
center and right skyscraper content) when your browser viewport is at
800%+ is not easy as anyone with a small smartphone visiting a
desktop-only web site will attest. Oh, look at sites such as  Not really mobile friendly at all. No mobiles at
MSS yet then? ;-)

Try and read that website on a small smartphone and I think anyone would
have comments about practical 'accessibility'.

Where are my specs?  

A lookalike MSS website is what you could end up with if you use my ISP's
website builder which has lots of
'square' templates with three menus, on one menu thrice.


web sites * multimedia * training

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