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Re: Working on New Styles for W3C Specifications

From: Vincent Hardy <vhardy@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 14:51:01 -0800
To: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
CC: "chairs@w3.org" <chairs@w3.org>, "spec-prod@w3.org" <spec-prod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CAFAA19E.24211%vhardy@adobe.com>
Hi Martin,

Thanks for your comments. I have added them to the wiki:



From: "Martin J. Dürst" <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp<mailto:duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 17:59:58 -0800
To: Adobe Systems <vhardy@adobe.com<mailto:vhardy@adobe.com>>
Cc: "chairs@w3.org<mailto:chairs@w3.org>" <chairs@w3.org<mailto:chairs@w3.org>>, "spec-prod@w3.org<mailto:spec-prod@w3.org>" <spec-prod@w3.org<mailto:spec-prod@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Working on New Styles for W3C Specifications

Hello Vincent, others,

1) As many others have said, don't force me to read with a fixed width.
There are definitely legibility issues with too wide (or too small, for
that matter) columns, but they depend on many different variables (e.g.
reading habits, familiarity with the matter, complexity of the text,
whether the language or script is 'native' or not,...). And they may be
overridden by other issues (side-by-side comparisons, efficient use of
paper (or screen real-estate; not everybody has big screens). For print,
a single decision has to be made. There is NO need for such a decision
for the Web, so please don't force it on us.
[Side comment: I'm involved in a large updating project for the Web site
of my university. I tried hard to get them to do a 'fluid' design that
would work well on a large variety of devices. Unfortunately, it was a
lost cause; run-of-the-mill Web 'professionals' still think in paper
despite more than 20 years of the Web. Please let at least W3C provide
some good examples, rather than stay stuck in the paper age.]

2) It seems nobody noticed, but please use the full brightness gammut of
the display device. I don't understand why displaying body text in dark
gray (#2f2f2f) would make the text any more readable, in particular when
there is lots of ambient light. To me the whole thing looks like the ink
was running out. Headings,... are even lighter (#4f4f4f).

3) That then would allow to make the examples a bit darker, too. It's
good to use a somewhat lighter tone for the examples, that automatically
enforces the message that they are not normative parts of the spec, but
as they are currently, I get tired reading them.

4) The bold font in the examples is way too bold in Safari. For whatever
reason, it looks much less bold (and better) in all four other browsers
I checked.

5) The light blue color for the links is too light (see above) and
therefore not very readable, too eye-catching to detract from reading
the text, and too 'cute' for a spec. Most of these points also apply in
the other cases where light blue is used.

6) Good typography is a lot about messaging. The new style, to me at
least, seems to aim for a message of high quality, but is too much
slanted towards high quality poetry and not enough towards high quality
engineering. I wonder to what extent messages such as "this is about
precision" or "I'm the spec, you aren't going to mess with me" were part
of the (maybe implicit) design brief for the redesign? With the current
design, it may be easier to catch the eye of a Web designer, but do we
think that this design is appropriate for specs e.g. about Web Services?

Regards,   Martin.

On 2011/11/29 1:52, Vincent Hardy wrote:
Dear Working Group Chairs,

As part of editorial work in the CSS and SVG Working Groups, I have started a specification styling project to improve the readability of our specifications. I have been working with Ben Schwarz, a designer and typographer with experience [1] in this area. I will also be working with Elika Etemad and Divya Manian on this effort. We have an Editor's Draft that illustrates the draft styles:

(select the 'additional spec. style toggle in the upper right).

and also:
(which uses the style by default).

If you are interested in providing feedback on the styles or wish to participate in this project, please contact me, otherwise no actions are required of your group. In a few months, in coordination with the W3C Comm Team, we will assess the feedback we receive and determine whether we should seek broader adoption of the styles.

Thank you,

Vincent Hardy

[1] http://developers.whatwg.org/
Received on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 22:51:39 UTC

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