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RE: magnifiers vs relative font-sizes

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 18:51:13 +0100 (BST)
To: "Slaydon, Eugenia" <ESlaydon@beacontec.com>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.44.0207211832230.30830-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>

On Mon, 15 Jul 2002, Slaydon, Eugenia wrote:

> Then the only solution would be to state that we can't code for Netscape 4.x
> and to design accordingly, otherwise we will fail on that checkpoint.

(Considering the mass of previous discussion which you appended to
your mail, I was unfortunately unable to discern which checkpoint
"that checkpoint" was, but I think I may be able to comment
constructively nevertheless.)

> It
> isn't a case of working around and using relative fonts - this is a case of
> relative fonts being destroyed (use them and your page format is blown -
> they don't work). But I hate to do that. I feel like I'm alienating a large
> audience. Granted the page will still "work" but since the font that is
> supposed to be a title may end up smaller than the text - I can't say it is
> "usable".

I don't see any absolute compulsion to design for the vagaries of NN4,
and certainly not to make NN4 maximally accessible (its own design
contains numerous features which I would say cause that to be
impossible): but if you want to create an effective page for the WWW,
there are useful techniques that can be applied to shield NN4 (and
some other older browsers) from the more challenging parts of your

This allows one and the same HTML page to, in effect, adapt itself to
the circumstances: displaying attractively to those who have an
attractive browser, displaying accessibly to those who have an
accessible browsing environment, and yet still displaying usefully (if
maybe somewhat plain) in older browsers.  This seems to me to be a
good compromise to aim for.  If the person who's commissioning one's
pages says (as they tend to do) that it's vitally important that the
page looks the same on all browsers, then in my humble opinion it's
the web author's duty to tell them that they are fundamentally
mistaken in that regard.  The vitally important thing is to
communicate the content usefully to ANY reader who wishes to use it:
visual presentation is of course an important part of that
communication for many readers, but it should not dominate the
communication to the exclusion of all else.

Anyhow, to get to the point: my favourite resource at present for such
CSS techniques would be

I'm not particularly saying that the use of such techniques could or
should be mandated by accessibility guidelines - but it seems to me
that it makes good practical sense to apply the techniques anyway.

best regards
Received on Sunday, 21 July 2002 13:51:21 UTC

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