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

RE: rationalize presentation

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 09:05:58 -0500
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD006A5D456@wdcrobexc01.ed.gov>
To: "'Cynthia Shelly'" <cyns@microsoft.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
When people don't get the accessibility argument, the thing I like to do
about the anti-aliasing issue is to make the case for real text with
black-and-white laser printouts in hand.  It helps to preface the discussion
with a leading question like, "Don't you think our website has enough useful
information that people will want hard copy reference to it?"  The most
carefully kerned and blended bitmapped fonts look like crap at 72 dpi
(screen resolution) as compared to plain vanilla CSS at 300 dpi (print

> ----------
> From: 	Cynthia Shelly
> Sent: 	Wednesday, January 16, 2002 6:05 PM
> To: 	Charles McCathieNevile; kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com
> Cc: 	Slaydon Eugenia; gian@stanleymilford.com.au; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> Subject: 	RE: rationalize presentation [was: Use consistent
> presentation]
> 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.
Received on Thursday, 17 January 2002 09:24:17 UTC

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