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Using em for layout

From: Alastair Campbell <ac@nomensa.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:09:03 +0100
Message-ID: <41222D9F.2010307@nomensa.com>
To: W <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Patrick Lauke wrote:
> I'd say no. Optimal width of, say, a column of text should really relate
> to the size of the font used

To add another case that should be considered (and at a tangent, so new 
subject line):

A layout specified with fonts, i.e. the main wrapper around the content 
and navigation columns is given a width in em.

You can make this type of layout increase and decrease so that 
everything increases in proportion. The columns are also given widths in 
em. I know of a site in development that does this, including 
non-content area images.

My first thought on this was that it would cause people with visual 
impairments (e.g. with screen magnifiers) more trouble, as the layout 
quickly scales off the page.

However, this is an approach to a flexible design, and it is quite 
difficult to argue against because for most people, it looks like a 
fixed design. This is considered good from an aesthetic point of view, 
and appears to pass the flexibility criteria.

Has anyone here tried this technique in a commercial setting? (I 
remember a CSS Zen garden design that does this, but I can't remember 
which one it was.) From what I've read so far, fonts and line-height 
should be relative, margins and images shouldn't. However, with layouts 
there are a lot of permutations.

Would this type of layout be approved for accessibility?



Alastair Campbell   |   Director of Technology

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Received on Tuesday, 17 August 2004 16:09:01 UTC

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