W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 2009

Re: Redesign Styles Hypocritical

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 22:19:05 -0600
To: Gérard Talbot <info@gtalbot.org>
Message-Id: <096DBB5E-5BF8-4DB6-B965-997C5144D85C@w3.org>
Cc: "James Hopkins" <james@idreamincode.co.uk>, "Felix Miata" <mrmazda@earthlink.net>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>, "site-comments@w3.org" <site-comments@w3.org>

On 30 Nov 2009, at 3:12 PM, Gérard Talbot wrote:

> "
> If you come across a site which ignores your browser settings, and  
> as a
> result is awkward for you to read, I strongly recommend you complain  
> to
> the owner/webmaster of the site.
> "
> Author: Stephen Poley
> http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/main/adjust.html
>
>
> Hello James, Ian, Felix
>
>> (...) It is my current understanding that
>> the default font size is an area of debate.
>>
>> I, too, had understood that the best practice was to leave the  
>> default
>> font size up to user settings. However, after discussion with a  
>> number
>> of designers,
>
>
> Ian,
>
> Can you identify those designers with whom you had a discussion?

Sure. Some of them include:

  * Airbag Industries
  * Dan Cederholm
    http://www.darowski.com/tracesofinspiration/2006/11/02/bulletproof-notes-a-day-with-dan-cederholm/
  * Richard Rutter (clagnut)
    http://www.alistapart.com/articles/howtosizetextincss/

I note that Eric Meyer does not choose sides in the author/user battle:
  http://webstandardsgroup.org/features/eric-meyer.cfm

>
> Over here, I can identify designers who explain to not override the  
> user
> preferences on font-size and their articles as well:
>
> Accessible Web design and consultancy, Syntactic Home page
> Setting up your browser; 1. Text font and size
> "
> (...) Web pages often try to override this size for their body text.  
> The
> better-designed sites won't do this (...)
> "
> http://www.syntacticweb.co.uk/calib.htm
>
> Let Users Control Font Size
> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020819.html
>
> The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard
> http://informationarchitects.jp/100e2r/
>
> The Wrong Size Fonts Or why not to over-ride the reader’s font size
> http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/fontsize.html
>
> "
> If you do not specify any font size at all (as on the pages you are
> reading), text will appear in the default size that was selected by  
> the
> user.
> "
> Truth & Consequences of web site design: Font size
> http://pages.prodigy.net/chris_beall/TC/Font size.html
>
>
>> and from numerous articles on the topic,
>
> Can you identify those articles? Maybe these articles authors are  
> the ones
> who should realize the problems (accessibility, usability) with their
> approach.

See above, in particular:
  http://www.clagnut.com/blog/348/

>
>> I realize it is
>> not that straightforward.
>
>
> The solution for me is straightforward. I set a font-size value for
> unstyled text in my browser.

I am told not many users know how to set font preferences.

> Then I intentionally, on purpose, set a
> minimal font-size value for all the designers and web site authors  
> who, by
> ignorance or incompetence, do not understand that there are people who
> need bigger font size than fine print, who need more bigger than 11px,
> 12px and 13px.
>
> Such solution is straightforward to me. It can be applied to a bunch  
> of
> media devices and non-media devices. In fact, we resort to such kind  
> of
> straightforward solution every single day with communication and
> electronic devices (music, tv, radio, phone, etc.)
>
> (Did you know that there are now TV sets sold that allow to set a  
> ceiling
> maximum level of acoustic pressure - say, 65dB - so that people are  
> not
> annoyed by noisy, screaming TV advertisements?)
>
> With non-relative and non-standard font size, I often encounter  
> overflow
> (and unexpected scrollbar, even in secondary windows), overlapping  
> blocks
> and overlapping text in webpages often when font size is bigger in a
> webpage. It is because those authors do not sufficiently, correctly
> understand that *_their_* preferred font size may not be everyone  
> else's
> preferred font size.

I am aware that the size I have chosen as a compromise may not suit  
all users' needs.

[snip...I'll follow up more later...]
--
Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 04:19:21 GMT

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