W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 2002

RE: rationalize presentation [was: Use consistent presentation]

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 15:05:04 -0800
Message-ID: <7164D4266FD7B94CA59D551C7FE6618D02E59E2B@red-msg-08.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>, <kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "Slaydon Eugenia" <ESlaydon@beacontec.com>, <gian@stanleymilford.com.au>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer, a marketing expert, or a designer.  The
following are things I've heard people say and do not necessarily
represent the views of myself, my employer, or anyone in particular.

These are the arguments I've most often heard from designers when they
want to use bitmaps of text instead of real text.  Most of these
discussions had nothing to do with accessibility.  They were arguments
between Web Developers (usually me) who wanted to use real text so they
could automate page generation, and Web Designers who wanted to use
bitmapped text for a variety of reasons (including those below).

1) Anti-aliasing
You can't ensure that your text will be anti-aliased with CSS.  If the
client machine has font-smoothing* turned on the text looks good.  If it
doesn't, the text looks terrible.  Using a graphic ensures that the text
always looks good.

*Font-smoothing is the term used for global anti-aliasing in the windows
UI.  I don't know if other operating systems support it or what they
call it.  

2) Branding and "special" fonts
A company's brand is rendered in a particular font.  It has status as a
brand, rendered in a particular way, under law. The wrong font or the
lack of anti-aliasing could be considered to be a different version. If
you create, or allow the creation of, slightly different versions of
your brand, you stand a very real chance of loosing its legal status (at
least under US law). Companies consider this to be a *VERY BAD THING*.

3) Fonts not available on end-user machines
The fonts you use in your brand are likely to be unusual fonts that
users won't have installed on their machines.  If you use CSS and the
font you ask for isn't on the machine, the brand will be rendered in a
different font.  See #2.

You might also be using unusual fonts in other parts of your site
(particularly navigation) so they'll "match" your brand.  You probably
won't loose your brand if these are rendered differently, but they won't
match, and they might not look good.  

4) Legal questions about embedded fonts
You can embed fonts in your document, have users download them, and use
CSS to render in those fonts.  This might be a way to get around #3.

However, fonts are copyrighted and used under license.  There are
different licenses for using fonts in different ways.  Many people are
unsure what license applies to embedded fonts, and they don't want to
find out by getting sued by the copyright holder. Getting sued is also a

There are also browser support issues with embedded fonts, which put you
back at #3.

If we treat logos as graphics, we get around a lot of 2-4, but the
anti-aliasing issue is still a big one for most designers.

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 1:30 AM
To: kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com
Cc: Slaydon Eugenia; gian@stanleymilford.com.au; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: rationalize presentation [was: Use consistent presentation]

Well, yes it does, except that highly stylised text (the extreme end of
can be done with CSS, and beyond) has major legibility problems and
should be
regarded as a graphic icon. Imagine using the lettering in the IBM logo
write a couple of lines of text - although most people could figure it
it isn't particularly legible.

In which case I think there is a pair of graphic icons. And I think our
proposals then become the same thing.



On Tue, 15 Jan 2002 kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com wrote:

  Charles, what about using navigation icons which contain gif or jpeg
  images of text, and also supplying text links as well?  The quality of
  text effects you can get in CSS is woefully limited, thus reducing the
  types of designs available to use.  However, having both highly
  stylized gif/jpeg text _and_ text-only, scalable-size text links lets
  you have your cake and eat it too, if we are talking about a single
  UI/document model.


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61
409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1
617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Wednesday, 16 January 2002 18:05:37 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:40 UTC