Word spacing in style attributes is not !important

  • Rule Type:atomic
  • Rule Id: 9e45ec
  • Last modified: Jan 04, 2021
  • Accessibility Requirements Mapping:
    • 1.4.12 Text Spacing (Level AA)
      • Learn More about 1.4.12 Text Spacing
      • Required for conformance to WCAG 2.1 on level AA and higher.
      • Outcome mapping:
        • Any failed outcomes: success criterion is not satisfied.
        • All passed outcomes: success criterion needs further testing.
        • An inapplicable outcome: success criterion needs further testing.
  • Input Aspects:

Description

This rule checks that the style attribute is not used to prevent adjusting word-spacing by using !important, except if it's at least 0.16 times the font size.

Applicability

This rule applies to any HTML element that is visible and for which the style attribute declares the word-spacing CSS property.

Expectation

For each test target, one of the following is true:

Assumptions

  • There is no mechanism available on the page to adjust word-spacing. If there is such a mechanism, it is possible to fail this rule while Success Criterion 1.4.12 Text Spacing is still satisfied.
  • This rule assumes that WCAG's meaning for the "Word spacing style property" is the value of the CSS word-spacing property rather than the actual space between words. The value of the CSS property is added to whichever spacing already exist (for example, the size of the space character). Thus, the actual space between words is larger than the value of the word-spacing property. If Success Criterion 1.4.12 Text Spacing is concerned by the actual space between words, then this rule may fail (with the word-spacing property being too small) while the Success Criterion is still satisfied (with the actual space being enough).
  • This rule assumes that when inter-words space is changed because of justification, the word-spacing property is not changed (the change occurs on the width of the space character between the words). Therefore, whether a text is justified or not doesn't change the result of this rule. Note that justifying text is a failure of Success Criterion 1.4.8 Visual Presentation.

Accessibility Support

While some assistive technologies are able to set user origin or user agent origin styles, others, such as browser extensions, are only able to set styles with the author origin. Such assistive technologies cannot create styles "winning" the cascade sort over a style attribute with an important declaration. If accessibility support does not include assistive technologies that override word-spacing through author origin, this rule should not be used.

Background

When a style is declared in the style attribute with an important declaration, it "wins" the cascade sort over any other style from author origin, i.e. it cannot be overridden by any of these. On the other hand, if such a style is declared in a style sheet, it can still "lose" the cascade sort to declarations with higher specificity or simply coming from a later style sheet (such as ones injected by assistive technologies). This rule ensures that the element is not in the first case and that the style can be overridden by users, unless it is already at least the minimum recommended threshold. Important styles that are declared with the user or user agent origin can win the cascade sort over styles with the author origin.

CSS specifications define each declaration as being either important (if is as the !important annotation) or normal. Given that normal is also a keyword for this property, and that !important is wider known that this distinction, this rule rather uses "important"/"not important" to avoid confusion.

Test Cases

Passed

Passed Example 1

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This p element has a not important computed word-spacing.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.1em">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 2

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of 0.2 times the font size, which is wide enough.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.2em !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 3

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of 4px, which is wide enough (the threshold is 4px).

<style>
	p {
		font-size: 25px;
	}
</style>

<p style="word-spacing: 4px !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 4

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This p element has two declared values for its word-spacing property. The latest wins the cascade sort. It has a value of 0.2em, which is wide enough.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.1em !important; word-spacing: 0.2em !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 5

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This p element has two declared values for its word-spacing property. The one which is important wins the cascade sort. It has a value of 0.2em, which is wide enough.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.2em !important; word-spacing: 0.1em">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 6

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The cascaded value of the word-spacing property of this p element is declared in the style sheet, not in the style attribute (it wins the cascade sort because it is important). Thus, the p element matches the cascade condition.

<style>
	p {
		word-spacing: 0.1em !important;
	}
</style>

<p style="word-spacing: 0.2em">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Passed Example 7

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The computed value of the word-spacing property of this p element is not important. The computed value of the word-spacing property of this span element is the inherited value, that is the computed value of its parent and therefore also not important.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.1em">
	<span style="word-spacing: inherit !important;">
		The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
	</span>
</p>

Passed Example 8

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The computed value of the word-spacing property of this p element is not important. The computed value of the word-spacing property of this span element is the inherited value, that is the computed value of its parent and therefore also not important.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.1em">
	<span style="word-spacing: unset !important;">
		The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
	</span>
</p>

Failed

Failed Example 1

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of only 0.1 times the font size, which is below the recommended minimum.

<p style="word-spacing: 0.1em !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Failed Example 2

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of 2px which is only 0.1 times the font size (20px), thus below the recommended minimum.

<style>
	p {
		font-size: 20px;
	}
</style>

<p style="word-spacing: 2px !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Failed Example 3

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of 0.

<p style="word-spacing: normal !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Failed Example 4

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This p element has a computed word-spacing of 0.

<p style="word-spacing: initial !important">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Inapplicable

Inapplicable Example 1

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There is no HTML element.

<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
    <text y="20" style="word-spacing: 0.1em">ACT rules</text>
</svg>

Inapplicable Example 2

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This p element is not visible because of display: none.

<p style="display: none; word-spacing: 0.1em !important;">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Inapplicable Example 3

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This p element is not visible because it is positioned off-screen.

<p style="position: absolute; top: -999em; word-spacing: 0.1em !important;">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Inapplicable Example 4

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The style attribute of this p element does not declare the word-spacing property.

<p style="width: 60%">
	The toy brought back fond memories of being lost in the rain forest.
</p>

Glossary

Outcome

An outcome is a conclusion that comes from evaluating an ACT Rule on a test subject or one of its constituent test target. An outcome can be one of the three following types:

  • Inapplicable: No part of the test subject matches the applicability
  • Passed: A test target meets all expectations
  • Failed: A test target does not meet all expectations

Note: A rule has one passed or failed outcome for every test target. When there are no test targets the rule has one inapplicable outcome. This means that each test subject will have one or more outcomes.

Note: Implementations using the EARL10-Schema can express the outcome with the outcome property. In addition to passed, failed and inapplicable, EARL 1.0 also defined an incomplete outcome. While this cannot be the outcome of an ACT Rule when applied in its entirety, it often happens that rules are only partially evaluated. For example, when applicability was automated, but the expectations have to be evaluated manually. Such "interim" results can be expressed with the incomplete outcome.

Visible

Content perceivable through sight.

Content is considered visible if making it fully transparent would result in a difference in the pixels rendered for any part of the document that is currently within the viewport or can be brought into the viewport via scrolling.

Content is defined in WCAG.

For more details, see examples of visible.


Useful Links


Implementations

This section is not part of the official rule. It is populated dynamically and not accounted for in the change history or the last modified date. This section will not be included in the rule when it is published on the W3C website.

ToolConsistencyCompleteReport
QualWebconsistentYesView Report
SortSiteconsistentYesView Report

Acknowledgments

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