Re: Redesign Styles Hypocritical

> Some of them include:
>   * Airbag Industries
>   * Dan Cederholm

Adam Darowski gives

    * font-size keywords
          o body {font-size: small}

but he does not explain, does not document and does not substantiate why
setting font size to smaller than medium (which is rescaling font size
with a 1.2 factor) is going to promote readability, legibility,
comfortable reading in any way.

font-size: small is the equivalent of font-size: 83.3% of the user
preferred font-size (whether or not the user intentionally, deliberately,
premeditately has chosen his normal, standard font size in his browser for
unstyled body content). And the implied 16.7% cut off, cut back, reduction
is never addressed in his webpage, is never explained, is never justified.

Maybe he resized his screen resolution too low (eg 800x600) and then he
"reset" what he reads with a font-size declaration. None of this is really

Ian, imagine that my viewing needs, my reading preferences, my eyesight
needs would be best, optimally served by a font-size of value_X. Now, why
would you want me to get served 83.3% of the value of value_X that I
require for my viewing needs, for my reading preferences, for my eyesight
requirements? And why would you want to do that for each and all of your
website visitors? Please answer me on this.

Adam Darowski gives
    * setting a base in ems
          o body {font-size: 62.5%}
          o sets a base of 10px

but that is just a math trick to be able to easily, quickly and
conveniently figure out the font size of an element within the cascading
containment hierarchy and declarations. Its underlying goal is total pixel
control of the webpage (from a web author's design perspective); its
underlying goal is not an user-friendly respect of users' viewing needs.

Adam Darowski also says

Try using keywords or ems for sizing text.

I'm not against keywords usage as long as it is medium for unstyled body
content. And then there is no need to declare this since medium is the
default font-size for unstyled body content. And a lot of browsers now all
converge to support the Default style sheet for HTML 4 appendix D of CSS
2.1 [1][2].

What's fundamentally wrong with using, relying on browser defaults and
then let the users customize these in their options, preferences, etc.
according to their viewing needs, eyesight?
How is a web author capable of knowing that I may be using a fuzzy monitor?

I'm not against ems but why would you want to reduce the normal, user
preferred font-size for your visitors to less than what is *their* normal
preferred font-size for each of your visitors according to *their* viewing
needs? It makes no sense.

Regardless of the unit involved, why would a web author want to resize the
normal, default, preferred font-size of unstyled body content of their
visitors with their viewing needs to less than 100% (or less than medium
or less than 1em)?

Besides, IE 6 and IE 7 have em unit bugs. So, why make your life more
complicated, more difficult, more problematic? why take a chance? ... that
is if you decide to go with
body {font-size: 1em;}

Adam Darowski then adds

IE7 allows pixel resizing. So, pixels should be fine for sites that don’t
rely on IE6 and older very much. However, keywords do add a semantic
quality to it (”small” on whatever device). Ems just seems like a hack for

but that's not true. IE7 does not allow pixel resizing. IE8 does not allow
pixel resizing either.

>   * Richard Rutter (clagnut)

I read his article and even quoted it in a bug report I did last year.

Paragraphs in body node are resized to 14px (from browser default): it's
already better than W3C redesigned at 13px. And it's also rescalable (in
the form of font-size:0.875em;); font-size: 13px is not rescalable in IE6,
IE7 and IE8 (unless zoom is activated). He uses:

body {

.bodytext p {
    font-size:0.875em; /* 16px X 0.875em = 14px */

His conclusion states:

Our task was to find a way to size text that allows designers to retain
accurate control of typography, without sacrificing the user’s ability to
adjust his or her reading environment. We tested various units across
common browsers. Sizing text and line-height in ems, with a percentage
specified on the body (and an optional caveat for Safari 2), was shown to
provide accurate, resizable text across all browsers in common use today.

Notice his use of "accurate" twice: it often means pixel-perfect control
over the user's content area... a chimeric pursuit/illusion.

When I do a webpage, I do not try to impose my typography preferences, my
viewing preferences, my eyesight preferences or my preferred font-size for
various elements. I trust that the browser (s)he uses is supporting,
complying with appendix D of CSS 2.1, Default style sheet for HTML 4 so
that everything scales nicely starting with his/her preferred normal
font-size hopefully meeting optimally his/her viewing needs/eyesight

That way, (s)he should never have to struggle with the webpage or the
browser; the web design should serve the user, should honor the user's
preferences which should be closely, intimately meeting her/his viewing
needs, not mine.

My tv remote control and volume knob serve my hearing capabilities/needs
and will continue to do so. ABC, CBS, NBC should never control the volume
level of my TV.

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

Then W3C along with/in cooperation with browser manufacturers can
(should!) start educating people on this:

E.g. for starters:
(This is a resource from a link in the sidebar of the
webpages with the text link saying "Larger text?". That link in the
sidebar may be no longer in use but the idea was excellent from an
accessibility and user-friendliness perspective)


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

Ian, just imagine that my viewing needs, my eyesight, my reading
requirements would be best served with a font-size of variable_X. Now, why
would you want to serve me a font-size value of 83.3% of the value of
variable_X, why would you want me to be served 83.3% of the value of

> W3C has a educational role, so should demonstrate best practice
David Woolley

> W3 pages should be a prime example of best practices.
Felix Miata

Exactly. I fully and entirely agree with Felix Miata and David Wooley.
And right now, W3C redesign does not comply with a very wide majority of
accessibility articles, WCAG 1 & 2 webpages (guidelines, checkpoints,
examples, explanations, related resources, etc), an unanimity of
web-accessibility + legibility advocacy groups, J. Nielsen, V. Flanders,

regards, Gérard


Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 18:58:26 UTC