W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2004

Font-size in WCAG 2

From: Jesper Tverskov <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 10:57:37 +0200
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c4836f$148b52a0$440bc650@tversdatg7y7vv>

How the proposal for WCAG 2 handles font-size, is a good example of the
main problem with the new approach to writing accessibility guidelines.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Most of us would agree that the text of a web page should have a not too
small initial font-size when the user arrives. The initial font-size of
most web pages today is too small for many users. 

Most of us would also agree that it should be possible for the user to
adjust the font-size in the browser, and for that reason a relative unit
should be used.

Most of us would opt for percent or EM but since IE does not render EM
for font-size as it should do in some cases (the smaller sizes get too
small), it is recommended only to use percent for the time being, or in
some cases xx-small to xx-large, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

How is the proposal for WCAG 2 helping us with these two very important
issues, initial font-size and relative font-size?

None at all. The importance of a rather big initial font-size and of
relative font-size is somehow not generic enough to be included in the
accessibility guidelines proper.

Since font-size is no longer a problem of HTML, we find nothing about
the two mentioned problems in "HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0". We need to
look in "CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0".

In "CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0" we need to look under "8. Fonts", here
8.1 talks about "Specifying fallback fonts", 8.2 is talking about
"Specifying font characteristics", first 8.3 is talking about
"Specifying font sizes using xx-small to xx-large".

Important issues like initial font-size and relative font-size except
the incomplete 8.3 are completely forgotten. But that is not the main
problem. Hopefully the missing issues about font-size, some of the most
important issues in accessible webdesign, will be included one day.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The main problem is that the guidelines proper are so generic, that
almost only computer scientists specializing in accessibility guidelines
can stomach reading them, and "CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0" is in the
same manner written for CSS-specialist.

How will interested users, net editors, decision-makers, and even
general project managers of web projects ever get to know that some
important issues concerning font-size are actually part of the
guidelines if the issues are only listed in a very technical manner
surrounded by scores of less important issues in a CSS manual?

Best regards,

Jesper Tverskov
Received on Monday, 16 August 2004 08:57:39 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:29 UTC