W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2008

Re: flowing around both sides of a float

From: James Elmore <James.Elmore@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 08:04:04 -0800
Message-Id: <F5999A26-A390-47F9-A288-C1AD1C592264@cox.net>
To: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>, CSS <www-style@w3.org>


On Jan 3, 2008, at 11:34 PM, Boris Zbarsky wrote:

>
> Brad Kemper wrote:
>> You draw an artificial distinction. Commercial authors exist to  
>> satisfy consumer needs.
>
> No, they exist to satisfy the needs of the people paying them.   
> These may or may not correspond with the needs of the people  
> actually viewing the resulting pages.

On the same hand, if those paying the commercial author don't satisfy  
the needs of their customers (hopefully the people viewing the  
pages), they won't be in business for long. The results should be  
almost the same as if the authors were satisfying the consumers.

>
>> Yep. And the good design of important sites can aid in usability,  
>> if the author/designer took a lot of care to craft it that way
>
> The problem is that most designers take a lot of care to make the  
> site usable in one very particular configuration or narrow range of  
> configurations (combination of DPI, available fonts, viewing  
> distance, viewport size, etc).  This typically has the effect of  
> making the site less usable in other configurations, with the  
> usability becoming worse as you depart further from the  
> configuration the site was designed for.
>
> Put another way, most sites are somewhat over-designed.  The  
> problem is that if you don't over-design a little bit the site ends  
> up being sub-optimal for the majority of your users (e.g. all users  
> get the same user experience and it's the one you'd get on a  
> cellphone).  But the amount of over-designing that goes on is  
> generally much greater than that.  Simply forcing font sizes to be  
> at a readable level breaks many major sites if you use a somewhat  
> high-DPI monitor and don't sit right up against it.

So, we have designers / authors who don't understand the correct use  
of CSS. So are we going to sit here complaining because some misuse  
the tools, or are we going to provide tutorials in the correct use of  
the tools. Where is the manual for the tool that tells us to wear our  
safety glasses when there are flying chips? (That is from "New Yankee  
Workshop" -- every week they warn of the dangers of using tools  
incorrectly. We need to do the same.)

But that should not stop us from trying to improve the tools. Any  
power tool can be misused. The better ones allow more control of WHAT  
THE TOOL IS DESIGNED FOR. What are we designing CSS for? To stop all  
designers from making a mistake? Or to allow designers to produce web  
pages that match their definitions of beauty?

Part of any development project (such as CSS development) is  
producing the user manuals and tutorials. We need to produce  
tutorials that warn new CSS developers about bad color choices and  
hard-to-read fonts. After we offer the tools and the manuals, it is  
up to the users to decide if they want to read the manuals and  
tutorials. Black and Decker (an American power tool company) can't  
stop people from misusing their tools, but that doesn't stop the  
company from selling the tools.

>
>> <sarcasm>Yes, clearly giving designers the choice of using color  
>> or specifying fonts was a big mistake.</sarcasm>
>
> I think giving designers the choice of specifying font-sizes that  
> are below the readability threshold, which they exercise every day,  
> is unfortunate.  Of course the problem is that they wouldn't even  
> realize that their fonts are set that way in some  
> configurations...  The problems come when instead of doing layouts  
> capable of flowing when things like font-size change the designer  
> hardcodes sizes.
>
> Not providing the tools to avoid said hardcoding, and providing  
> tools to enable it, is indeed a mistake.
>

The tools to avoid the hardcoding are available (px, gd, vw, vh, vm,  
ch, cm, in, mm). Enabling it is the DESIGNER'S choice. If the web  
site is designed for phone customers ONLY and you somehow get it on  
your HiDef monitor, it may be impossible to read, but that is the  
designer's choice. If the web site offends you, don't go back. If  
companies lose viewers because the web site is hard to read, they  
will either decide to fix the problem(s), go out of business, or  
decide that those viewers they lost weren't the ones they were aiming  
for. Your preferences can't control what everybody else does, or CSS  
will be a waste of time for everyone who has a different definition  
of 'beauty' than you do do.

> -Boris
>

James Elmore
Received on Friday, 4 January 2008 16:04:23 GMT

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