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Re: Allowing font size changes

From: Wayne Dick <waynedick@knowbility.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:46:11 -0800
Message-ID: <CAC9gL7426zAqiFaVoa-kniL5rWfLB_bcEyEusMkOb7JzaFotvA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Cc: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I think it is time to be realistic about the timeline of standards. If we
set standards for what is routine today then in 3-5 years when the standard
becomes established, the technology we proposed will be obsolete. That is
why we can be a little on the edge when it comes to proposed requirements.

Today responsive design is a little new, but worked enough to be reliable.
In 3-5 years it will be routine, and some better methodology will
emerge.  Today
we have progressive enhancement – completely established and guaranteed to
revert to one column format. Responsive design is moderately new (5 years
old) and tested.  We can write requirements today that insist a page must
be linearizable to one column to enable limitless text enlargement (level
A). We can make a level AA requirement of responsive. It can be done today,
and in 3-5 years when the standard is out in the world it will be easy to

As far as enlargement is concerned, it should be defined in EMs. One media
query case should look for screens with 10-20 EMs. That gives about 12-14
letters per screen. On a 13in screen that translates to 72 point, 1 inch
letters. If one selects the (word-break, break-word) option entire words
stay on the screen even if they break. This is better than magnification
that forces the first part of long words to be out of the visual space once
the person moves right. It is linear. On a 26 inch monitor, 10 EM screen
width means 144 point font, and the formatting would be very usable.

God is in the details. Conversion to responsive is difficult, but adding a
few extra queries for low vision is not. Don’t kid yourself. It isn’t some
people who have a hard time with screen magnification, it is almost
everyone, like 20 to 1. Having sufficiently large font with word wrapping
will change the entire world for people with low vision resulting from
reduced visual acuity. It did for me.

I have read 10 times as many books since CSS 2 as I did in the preceding 40
years. I could not participate in this discussion without that access.
Well-structured content changed my life. After eight years of research I
know it will do the same for the overwhelming majority of people with low
vision. The question is this. We have the technology to do this for
everyone, should we hold it back. Is that ethical?

Received on Tuesday, 19 January 2016 22:46:40 UTC

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