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Font tag (was RE: Slashdot: How should Govt sites be designed?)

From: Amanda Tunison <amanda.tunison@SONOMA.EDU>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 19:05:41 -0800
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <p04320401b65f351c1941@[]>
>Actually, I have to disagree with this; I don't believe that bgcolor,
>font, or bold themselves present -any- access problems whatsoever.  It
>is entirely possible to use those elements without creating accessibility

I'm inclined to agree with you about bgcolor and bold, but the font 
tag is another matter.

Font tags can cause problems in a number of ways, primarily because 
the user can't turn them off in a graphical browser the way you can 
turn off background colors.  Just a couple of examples:
1.  If the font color is the same as the user's background color, the 
text disappears.  More commonly it may just be too low-contrast to be 
2.  The font size can render text unreadable because it's simply too 
small (I run into this one all the time actually, and it annoys me no 
end) or so large that you end up with only a word or two at a time.

Warren Steel has a good discussion of problems with the font tag at 

The main thing you accomplish by using the font tag instead of style 
sheets is to force your display preferences on certain users instead 
of making them optional as they are with style sheets.  Given the 
risk -- or guarantee, depending on what attributes you pick -- of 
rendering the page unreadable for some users, this doesn't strike me 
as a good option.


>Errors result when those are -relied upon- to provide information, not
>when they are -used-.  That is a subtle but key point to understanding
>accessibility on the tag level.
Amanda Tunison
Web Systems Analyst
Information Technology
Sonoma State University
(707) 664-4160
Received on Thursday, 14 December 2000 22:10:31 UTC

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