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Re: fixed font size

From: James Craig <wai-ig@cookiecrook.com>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 17:19:21 -0500
Message-ID: <40732CE9.5030004@cookiecrook.com>
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Julian Scarlett wrote:

> Stupid little things like specifying px in css when you *know* what 
> effect it has in the most prevalent browser (by a massive margin) just 
> strikes me as assinine and down-right perverse. Especially when ther's 
> absolutely no need.

Wow. It strikes me as strange that we're educated professionals on a 
list dedicated to a very noble cause (yes, we're here for the same 
reason) yet the arguments frequently dissolve into opinionated drivel 
like "stupid," "asinine," and "perverse." Perverse?! Ok, maybe it's 
perverse; but who decides what's right and wrong?

By the way, there is no "ass" in asinine. Though maybe you were implying 
that was me. (wink)

I'm merely stating that these standards (CSS, WCAG, etc.) are set in 
place for good reasons. The true fault of this problem lies in the 
implementation of a browser's interpretation of those standards. It's 
silly to say, "Here's a standard, but don't use it." So how do we lean 
on Microsoft to get a service patch to fix that bug. A lawsuit?

Every low-vision user /I know/ (admittedly, that's not every low-vision 
user) knows about the IE "ignore font sizes" setting. I didn't tell them 
about it either. The other common trend in the low-vision users /I know/ 
is that they all use a screen magnifier which makes the resizing problem 
irrelevant. I would not call any of them technical people. The did 
however, learn enough about their tools to do what they needed.

I also realize that this doesn't account for the aging populus who 
slowly lose their vision. This doesn't account for low-vision users who, 
for one reason or another, don't know about screen magnifiers or don't 
know about IE's "ignore font sizes" setting. But chance are, those users 
also don't know about IE's ability to scale fonts specified in relative 
units. So how would I be helping them.

I've heard exponentially more complaints from IE users who accidentally 
scaled their font-sizes DOWN (via the Control key plus the scroll 
wheel), than I have from people complaining the non-resizable fonts. If 
you insist on coding for the "massive margin," then am I not helping 
more ignorant users than hurting disabled users? Am I not, especially 
considering that this particular group of disabled users has a higher 
incentive to find out how to help themselves?

The keys to fixing this problem are:

1. Getting Microsoft to fix IE.
2. Enabling users to get what they want.
3. Educating users that don't know how to get what they want.
4. Hurting the least amount of people's needs in the process.

You state that there is "no need" to use pixel-sized fonts. Sure there 
is: if not for design reasons (Yes, I'm a graphic designer), then for 
all the non-disabled users ignorant of that control+scroll shortcut. In 
/my/ professional experience, that helps more people than those who 
benefit from the scalable fonts.

You don't have to agree with me, but I have thought this out, and 
stating that any opinion is "stupid" is rather narrow-minded. If you 
think my opinion is uneducated, then educate me.

James Craig

PS. In accessibility training courses, I usually recommend against using 
pixel font sizes... but I shouldn't have to.

Received on Tuesday, 6 April 2004 18:35:10 UTC

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