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CSS Naked Day

First posted in Accessibility; updated 9th April 2022

CSS Naked Day is a day when all website owners should strip their site of CSS to expose the ‘naked’ HTML underneath.

The idea behind CSS Naked Day is to promote web standards. Plain and simple. This includes proper use of HTML, semantic markup, a good hierarchy structure, and of course, a good old play on words. In the words of 2006, it’s time to show off your <body> for what it really is.

For me, there’s a huge accessibility angle to it too:

  • It’s not uncommon for things being sent to a browser by the server to be lost in transit, and that includes CSS files
  • Some people don’t experience the web visually, for example non-sighted screen reader users
  • Some visitors rely on the underlying HTML being true to how it is presented visually, for example speech recognition software users

So without all the styling styling:

  • content should be identifiable for what it is, for example headings and their level
  • organisation and sequence of content should be understandable
  • content itself should be readable
  • operability and interactions should all still function as expected

If your site becomes unusable in any way, you’ll know you’ve got some work to do!

Update: here’s how this post looked on CSS Naked Day:

A screenshot of this page as it looked on CSS Naked Day without any styling, showing sensibly ordered, semantic, readable content

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More posts

Here are a couple more posts for you to enjoy. If that’s not enough, have a look at the full list.

  1. Images as the first thing in a button or link

    If the text of an interactive element like a button or link is preceded with an accessible image, we’ve probably got an accessibility problem.

  2. Alt text for CSS generated content

    There’s an interesting feature in Safari 17.4 that allows content added with CSS to have ‘alt’ text. I’m not sure how I feel about this.