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In-place quick fix for px [Was: Summarizing the "font-size" issue to make an informed choice]

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 22:38:18 -0600
Cc: w3c help <site-comments@w3.org>, Felix Miata <mrmazda@earthlink.net>, James Hopkins <james@idreamincode.co.uk>, Gérard Talbot <info@gtalbot.org>, "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, Alan Gresley <alan@css-class.com>, Eric Meyer <eric@meyerweb.com>, Sorin Stefan <shorys@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <C486D9B2-BF44-4F48-AAE1-DB7D8D02245A@w3.org>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
On 12 Jan 2010, at 8:51 PM, Ian Jacobs wrote:

> Hello all,
> Thank you all for contributing in such detail to the discussion  
> (started at the very end of November [1]) about how the new W3C  
> styles specify font sizes (and specifically a base font size).
> In order to make the most informed decision, I'd like to ask your  
> help in summarizing the observations and considerations made on the  
> thread. I've taken a first pass below.
> Some initial conclusions based on your comments are:
> * I need to fix the CSS to enable resizing in IE. (This might be  
> done in several ways.)

We've changed the CSS to use em and percentages rather than px for  
text (if there are any instances where px are still used to set text  
size, do let me know).

This is not mean to end the discussion. The fix should, if I understand:

  * enable resizing in various browsers
  * resolve the inconsistency with http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/font- 
size. (I note that we still us px in the
    CSS for borders, for instance.)

Obviously this does not resolve the user preference issue. Tomorrow I  
may set up a version that uses font-size: 100% to do some comparisons.

  _ Ian

> * I need to review other W3C resources (e.g., QA Tips) where there  
> is inconsistency with the approach
>   we take.
> I'd like to make an informed choice by understanding the various  
> considerations. Corrections and additions welcome.
> Thank you again for your help,
> _ Ian
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/site-comments/2009Nov/ 
> 0048.html
> ------------------------------------------
> Regarding using px to set a base font size
>   a) It is unnecessary (you can use relative units). However:
>      - px settings may give you better cross-browser compatiblity
>      - em/percent may give you better resizing capabilities
>   b) It may pose usability/accessibility issues (when done in a way
>      that does not allwo resizing).
>   c) It contradicts W3C's own advice (e.g., a QA tip [1]) not
>      to mention the advice of other resources.
>      [1] http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/font-size
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> Regarding specifying a base font size other than "the user's default"
>   a) It is common. The consequence is that if a site doesn't (for good
>      reasons), the site looks odd.
>   b) It is impolite to override preferences explicitly set by users.
>   c) Some browsers allow users to set a minimum font size; others  
> don't.
>   d) Users may not know they can adjust font-related settings.
> ------------------------------------------
> Regarding the user's ability to scale text
>   a) Some browsers have issues resizing sizes expressed with certain
>      CSS units (notably px).
> -----------------------------------------
> The difficult choice
> If I understand correctly, we can choose between:
> i) Specifying the default font size the way that many other sites do  
> (which is smaller than the default
>    used by many browsers).
>    Pro: consistency across sites
>    Con: too small for some users, and disrespectful of some who have  
> set preferences
> ii) Specifying the default font size to be "the user's default"
>    Pro: recognizes user should have ultimate control
>    Con: will look too large for many users today
> --
> Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
> Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 04:38:33 UTC

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