Thanks very much for taking the time to provide the logic behind Atto.
--- it was intended to be a small and simple replacement with fewer options offered
The concept is fine, there must certainly be a large number of people that want a simple and straightforward tool to create content with. The issue I see is that most users, be them design-aware or not, expect to find the tools that they have learned to use and that are present in other software toolbars; I sincerly cannot imagine MS removing them from their Office Suite nor Adobe from their Creative Suite.
--- or lead to the creation of inaccessible content
From my particular point of view, protectionist regimes do not tend to do any good to anyone. Knifes shouldn't be made because they lead to the killing of people or animals? It is unavoidable, there'll be always people creating content that goes against each and every rule of, let's not say good design, but at least an acceptable one. It's a known fact that many people copy and paste from Word, so now, if the editor doesn't provide the basic editing tools, even more people will start doing that routine, and we know what that means.
--- we opted not to create plugins for text size, and for font colour *** Since screen readers do not read out things like the background colour and font size
There might not be many screen readers capable of reading formats, yet, but at least ClickHear & ClickHear Mobile seem to handle variable text and highlighting color options. HAL reads font styles, though I don't know if that includes highlight color.
"Not only do screen readers differ widely from each other, but most are highly configurable."
If font size were irrelevant, screen magnifiers wouldn't be available. Truth is that many programs and screen readers include them. Take for instance:
Regarding background color, software is being designed to deal with that. For example:
"Google ChromeVis is a Google Chrome extension that magnifies any selected text on a webpage. The magnified text is displayed inside of a separate lens and preserves the original page layout. Users can change both the lens text color and the lens background color."
Finally, let's not forget the reason behind the development of CSS and user style sheets.
"Adding back the underlines or making the fonts larger is a good start towards making the Web pages I visit more accessible to me."
--- Rather than using either of these in content, the paragraph plugin should be used to create navigable, structured content; and the bold, underline, and italic plugins should be used to add appropriate emphasis which can be picked up by a much wider range of users.
As I expressed in my previous post, color has never been meant to be discarded because of accesibility:
"Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information."
---One of the other features which came about from the creation of Atto was the ability for individual users to select their own editor
This is definitely a great feature.
--- we've worked to create an extensive editor framework for Atto to enable you to create your own plugins
This totally contradicts the first statement: "it was intended to be a small and simple replacement with fewer options offered."
We certainly recognize and support the effort being done in each step to bring Moodle to what it is, but given the reasons provided I'd say that maybe some reconsideration could be done regarding Atto. What is the real benefit of having Atto?
Seems to me that a lot of work is being done to develop a small and simple tool only to spend a lot time and effort to develop an editor framework so people have to do more work to get the expected editing options; take for instance the following quote regarding the horizontal rule:
"I just noticed this feature was 'missing' from the new Atto editor, and was happy to find it here".
This whole Atto issue also affects other plugins, like Geshi: