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RE: Best font family for accessibility? / site check request

From: <carl.myhill@ps.ge.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 13:35:02 -0400
Message-ID: <6192367D59F8904CA553579EF41FEEA0019F1DF4@ukcbgx01psge.geips.ge.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


Thanks all for your responses.

I understand that for accessibility users own choices of fonts should be
respected, and that's fine, their own style sheet of browser settings can
presumably force that.

My website is not specifically designed for disabled people, I just think
good design practice should just be accessible, without the fuss. So, my
users are just regular web users and I wont be expecting them to install a
font to look at the page.

It does seem like my choice perhaps isnt too bad after all, from what I skim
read in Jim's article but it doesn't look great on IE 5.5.
font-family: verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;

I just thought I might be missing something. I personally don't much like
Jacob's Nielsen's font choices.  I thought there might be guidelines as to
which are the clearest and most accessible commonly installed fonts on
people's computers. I guess The BBC and RNIB have made some sensible choices
so I'll perhaps go take a peak there.  I just thought there might be a
definative answer from this group (am still a bit of a newbie!).

Having been an interaction designer 11 years I still struggle with the
answers the colleagues in my community offer on the subject of which colours
work best. The answer is invariably 'it depends'. Rather than being a
template set of colours that work quite well for most people. The latter I
can use immediately, the former is an interesting idea but doesn't lead me
away from my bad taste and ignorance!  I fear this font issue is similar.
'It Depends' is my pet hated expression over-used by Interaction Designers! 



-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Clark [mailto:joeclark@joeclark.org] 
Sent: 26 August 2003 17:53
Subject: Re: Best font family for accessibility? / site check request

Unfortunately, the answer to the question "What is the best font for 
a visually-impaired person?" is "Whatever that person prefers." Some 
people will choose poorly (I've read evidence that people read faster 
with a font slightly smaller than the size they consider optimal), 
but in general people know their own needs better than designers do. 
That's why we've got user stylesheets and font selectors in browsers.

Cf., inter alia, 
<http://joeclark.org/design/print/readingthetube.html>. The issues 
are similar.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Tuesday, 26 August 2003 13:36:21 UTC

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