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RE: Open Issue #20 - Absolute Units In Style Sheet

From: Michael Cooper <mcooper@cast.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 14:09:17 -0500
To: "WAI ER IG List" <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
I think it's very important not to allow absolute sizes for fonts in style
sheets. Although Netscape 6 and Opera 4 will resize text even when there's
an absolutely defined size, all other browsers that I know of won't and you
get frozen text. The ability to override the stylesheet doesn't help since
it's impossible to predict in advance what elements and classes would need
to be overridden.

My approach to designing style sheets is to assume the browser's base font
size is 12 point. I base all sizes off of that as either a percentage or an
em/en. This is both resizable and, if the browser's base size is different,
everything will still be correct with respect to that. I wish it were
possible in CSS to define the preferred base size you're working with (as a
single absolute size that could easily be overridden), but it isn't, so
we're stuck relying on the browser's.


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org
[mailto:w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Chris Ridpath
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2001 9:49 AM
To: WAI ER IG List
Subject: Open Issue #20 - Absolute Units In Style Sheet

Open issue #20:

Is it OK to use a point size in a style sheet? Should we suggest that the
page author convert all font sizes to relative units (em, ex, larger,
smaller, or a percentage)?

This issue comes up because of WCAG 3.4 - "Use relative rather than absolute
units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values."

The guideline specifies that even style sheets use relative units, but it
seems to me that in style sheets it's OK to specify a specific point size
for fonts. The user can override the authors choice with their own

CSS defines only 7 categories of font sizes (xx-small, x-small, small,
medium, large, x-large, and xx-large) and most authors demand a higher
granularity than that.

I see that CSS defines font size names (small, medium, large etc.) as
"absolute" when I would call them "relative".


Received on Friday, 2 February 2001 14:10:36 UTC

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