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Re: Big Fonts, Bright Text: friend or foe?

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 11:31:35 -0400
Message-Id: <3.0.32.19990601113121.010ee8dc@pop3.concentric.net>
To: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
David,

If you're thinking of having two versions of the site, one with the larger
font and reverse contrast, and the other "normal"...

How about instead offering a link to a tips page for people with low
vision. The tips page would have the large font and reverse contrast, and
would help the user set up their system so that all pages look like that.

The tips page would also repeat crucial information, like a hotline number.

Len

At 11:11 AM 6/1/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Len, you are on the mark, but be aware that many people especially
>older folks are greatly helped by pages that present a bigger high
>contrast interface to the user.  everything you have stated though is
>issentially correct.  Style sheets are the way to go, but remember,
>many browsers do not support them.  I suppose if I were interested in
>making a page/site look larger and brighter, I'd be compelled to
>provide one that didn't.  This is similar in many respects to the text
>only problem with which we are grapling.  Separate but equal and
>specialized is not what we are after.
>Thanks!
>
>"Leonard R. Kasday" wrote:
>> 
>> Some web sites try to accommodate people with low vision by presenting web
>> pages  with large font and reverse contrast (e.g. white text on black
>> background).
>> 
>> Does this accommodation help or is it actually a problem?
>> 
>> It's not in the web access guidelines.  If anything, the guidelines
>> implicitly discourage it by recommending use of style sheets instead of the
>> <FONT> tag or background attribute that's generally utilized in such pages.
>> 
>> Personally, I think this sort of accommodation does more harm than good.
>> 
>> For example, there's an optimum font size for person with low vision.  If
>> it gets too large, it cuts reading speed.  So if a person with low vision
>> is already using a screen magnifier set to optimize print size, and the
>> page has large font, it seems to me it would make it larger than optimum,
>> and slow the person down. The same problem applies if the person has set
>> their default font size to be large.
>> 
>> Or, if the person is already using reverse contrast, does a white on black
>> page could come up black on white, defeating the reverse contrast.  (Screen
>> magnifiers may be smart enough to avoid this... they could be in
>> principle... do they?)
>> 
>> I'm also concerned about people who aren't using magnification programs or
>> who don't yet know how to set colors and font sizes in their browsers.  Is
>> it really a good idea to give them a special page with big font and reverse
>> contrast instead of informing them how to control font size and color to
>> make all pages more readable?
>> 
>> In addition, what about people with motor disabilities?  The bigger the
>> font, the more they have to scroll up and down to read the page.
>> 
>> My final concern is that such pages give the impression that you have to
>> make pages look a particular way to be accessible.
>> 
>> Please tell me if I'm on the mark here, or am I overlooking something?
>> 
>> Len
>> 
>> -------
>> Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
>> Universal Design Engineer, Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
>> Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering
>> Temple University
>> 
>> Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
>> kasday@acm.org
>> (215} 204-2247 (voice)
>> (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
>
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-------
Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Universal Design Engineer, Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering
Temple University

Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
kasday@acm.org        
(215} 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Tuesday, 1 June 1999 11:29:32 GMT

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