About three months ago, I changed the AO3 site skin to the Low Vision option, because I wanted to see if I could fix the then minor issue of not being able to see bold wi… (read more)
About three months ago, I changed the AO3 site skin to the Low Vision option, because I wanted to see if I could fix the then minor issue of not being able to see bold with my screen-reader, NVDA, when reading fics on the site. Some of the bold I knew to be there because I had personally put it in.
When I changed the skin, I was dismayed to find I could not only still not see bold, but I could no longer see italics with NVDA either. The AO3 sidebar menu was also tucked away behind a dropdown button, but I could open that up and get to the controls, so I didn't mind that so much. The formatting, however, posed a real problem, since italics are used for, among other things, emphasis, telepathic speech, and the speech of Pokémon in fanfics featuring humans who can understand Pokémon. So I definitely wanted this problem fixed.
I thought I could simply change the site skin back, but to my further dismay, switching back to the Default skin did not restore my former view of the site's pages. I began trying other things, seeking advice from other tech-savvy acquaintances after I'd exhausted all the possible fixes I could think of to no effect. Here is a list of everything I've already tried:
- As mentioned before, changing the site skin back with the buttons on the site
- Soft/Hard-Refreshing the page.
- Logging out of and back into my AO3 account to artificially end the session.
- Restarting the computer, and NVDA, by extension.
- Disabling each of the three extensions I have in Firefox, just in case one of them had caused the issue.
- Viewing the site while logged out to see if that made a difference.
- Cleared browser cache, and when that failed to help, also cleared specifically the AO3 cookies.
- Created a clean Firefox profile with no settings changed and no extensions added, pasted url of one of the pages I was using as a test into the address bar. Still no formatting visible.
- Viewed page in Incognito mode.
- Briefly thought I had a solution when I found the Page Styles submenu in the View menu, set the page to No Style. Got my old sidebar back, but not the formatting, and lost even that change after a refresh. Not ideal solution.
- Downloaded the portable version of Firefox, opened it and pasted in a url again. Still no formatting.
- Reluctantly, opened AO3 in Google Chrome. Could see all the formatting with NVDA when logged out, and when I logged in, could still see the formatting.
I also discovered Reader View while testing some of these things, and this allowed me to read the text of a fic or chapter with all its formatting, but that view doesn't include the Author's Notes, or the comments, and that sacrifices some of the nuance of those because I don't see the emphasis on any words/phrases without the formatting.
I have contacted the AO3 support team, but they are just as confused as I am and don't know what could have happened. They say they haven't changed anything on the site that they could pinpoint as causing this problem.
I have tried asking on the BlindTech email list I'm subscribed to, which is where I was given the link to Portable Firefox, but I have exhausted all their ideas as well, some of which were included in the above list.
Now I come to you. Please, if you can shed any light on what might have caused this problem, I would deeply, sincerely appreciate it.