using the unorthodox `head {display: block}` to show text to user?

Tags: html,css,web-crawler,accessibility

Problem :

The following example shows that by using CSS pseudo-elements you can render into the browser some viewable text that is "embedded" in a <link> or <meta> tag.

This unusual technique will show text on a page, but the text doesn't seem to be selectable (in Chrome 49 at least) and my question is, is text displayed in this way scrape-able? … I mean:

  1. How would a screen reader see this text?

  2. How do spiders see this? ... like googlebot, for example? Do they?

Solution :

This should help answer your questions:

Based on the authors indication that:

Generated content is not content at all, it’s presentation.

I would assume that since the content generated from the pseudo-element is part of the presentation, rather than the structure of the page, spiders/bots might not pick it up.

A quick example fiddle and codebit:

.text:before  {
   content: "Hello World!";

also support this claim. If you inspect element and check the div, you will notice that ":before" is what is displayed in the html, rather than a direct output of the text from the pseudo-element (i.e: "Hello World!"). Since most bots aren't scanning through the stylesheets, it's likely that it won't be picked up.

Regarding Screen Readers, I believe that it depends on the type of reader and what it's set to interpret. Here is an interesting link from a popular reader called WebAim that appears to interpret part of the CSS as well: The only way to be sure is to test it out for yourself and see but like one commenter said above, I do not believe that screen readers are standardized.

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