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Re: fixed font size.

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 17:37:17 +1000
Message-Id: <3B10F90E-879D-11D8-A043-000A958826AA@sidar.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: David.Pawson@rnib.org.uk

Hi Dave,

you could try telling him what you just told us about how it is a pain 
to override his choice of font. (He could suggest you upgrade to a 
browser that doesn't have this problem, like almost anything except 

You could point out that WCAG requires that you use relative sizes. He 
may point to the discussion over the last 5 years of whether px is a 
relative size or not. As the originator of the requirement in the WCAG 
group I can state confidently that it isn't in the sense intended by 
the text. Unfortunately because it can be changed (by changing your 
computer, or more recently also by changing the display settings of you 
computer to use a different resolution), people think it is a relative 
size unit and is therefore covered. Equally unfortunately, as far as I 
can tell my request for an erratum to be recorded on this specific 
point for WCAG seems not to have been taken up. So I cannot promise you 
will convince him.

You could point to the fact that Australian law does not recognise any 
condition in a contract which is not rendered as at least 10pt (10/72 
of an inch, roughly 3.5mm, modulo the complexities of typography that 
they didn't seem to understand when they phrased the law). 10px on 
modern systems with a pixel of approximately .01 inches is under that 

You could point out that the consensus that 8 or 9pt text is cool tends 
to be maintained by people whose eyesight is very good, and not by the 
people who wear glasses or have minor problems with their vision (as 
opposed to the somewhat smaller number of people whose vision 
categorises them legally as "disabled", or the even smaller number who 
can't see anything).

You could perhaps point him towards the documents that the Education 
and Outreach group are developing that are designed to be useful in 
explaining this kind of thing.

Good luck



On 6 Apr 2004, at 17:23, David.Pawson@rnib.org.uk wrote:

> The site http://www.pilot-link.org/
> is using an external css file in which the font size is fixed.
> When I mailed him, he seemed confident that his was a good site,
> asking for feedback.
> In the css file he has
> body {
> 	font-size:		10px;
> 	font-family:		verdana, helvetica, sans-serif;
> }
> I.e. he's fixed everything at 10 pixels font size, which I find
> uncomfortably small.
> Quite rigid, doesn't allow me to increase it for my own needs.
>  I think with IE6 on board, the only way I can overcome his
> font size is by using my own CSS in the cascade?
> How can I persuade him that its not a good idea please?
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Tuesday, 6 April 2004 03:40:19 UTC

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