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Re: RFC: Adding syntax highlighting to the official documentation

From: John Wheeler
Subject: Re: RFC: Adding syntax highlighting to the official documentation
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2021 22:18:17 -0600
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My concern for color blindness stemmed from having worked on government manuals probably two decades ago.  We were taught that you should include nothing that relied solely on color to make sense of the text.  If you are working to modern web accessibility guidelines you are certainly way ahead of what I can add to the subject.  I am sorry I did not pick up on that if you mentioned it before.

The other concern is more a personal thing with me.  When I say printed text, I was referring to pdf output. I will often print a pdf file so I can better read it from paper.  When you mentioned adding color to pdf files, you caught my attention.  I have seen too many books that I personally have a very hard time using because either someone has indiscriminately highlighted passages they thought important or the book designer decided to use color in some way to "guide" the reader. What other people must see as artful use of color I find so distracting that I struggle to follow the text.

I am showing my age here, but I have a daughter that tells me if I had been born this century, I would have been tested for autistic issues.  Though I have never been diagnosed, I suspect she would say my sensitivity to color stems from that source.

I hope this helps you understand my request that some way of printing black and white be preserved.

Thank you,


On 12/18/21 11:38 AM, Jean Abou Samra wrote:
Hi John,

Le 18/12/2021 à 17:31, a écrit :
When employing color in printed text, or print requivalent text, please be considerated of your readers who are color blind or have attention problems related to color.

For the former you need to provide a way to completely remove color from the material without making it un-readable.  For example, in the colorized code shared earlier, and depending on visual imparment, words that are in color could be completely missing for some readers.

For, the later group, a way to opt out of colorization should be considered a requirement. I have seen text books that I personaly cannot read because some who owned the book before had taken a hilighter to.

I am not sure I understand the issues at
hand well. I thought it would suffice to
design the color scheme with high enough
contrast so that the code would stay readable
for people with impaired vision. I have
been using the WCAG contrast indicator for
that. It's true that the first proposed
style had bad contrast (I didn't realize
the problem at that time), but the new one
has a minimum of 6.1 which I thought would
be enough above the AA level of 4.5. Do
you think it is necessary to provide a way
to opt out of syntax highlighting nevertheless?
By printed text, do you mean the PDF output,
or also HTML output? (I thought there would
be tools to remove color when browsing?)
Could you say more about 'attention problems
related to colors'? I don't know much about
this topic, but I am curious to learn more.


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