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Re: Working on New Styles for W3C Specifications

From: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 10:59:58 +0900
Message-ID: <4ED43C9E.9000207@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
To: Vincent Hardy <vhardy@adobe.com>
CC: "chairs@w3.org" <chairs@w3.org>, "spec-prod@w3.org" <spec-prod@w3.org>
Hello Vincent, others,

1) As many others have said, don't force me to read with a fixed width. 
There are definitely legibility issues with too wide (or too small, for 
that matter) columns, but they depend on many different variables (e.g. 
reading habits, familiarity with the matter, complexity of the text, 
whether the language or script is 'native' or not,...). And they may be 
overridden by other issues (side-by-side comparisons, efficient use of 
paper (or screen real-estate; not everybody has big screens). For print, 
a single decision has to be made. There is NO need for such a decision 
for the Web, so please don't force it on us.
[Side comment: I'm involved in a large updating project for the Web site 
of my university. I tried hard to get them to do a 'fluid' design that 
would work well on a large variety of devices. Unfortunately, it was a 
lost cause; run-of-the-mill Web 'professionals' still think in paper 
despite more than 20 years of the Web. Please let at least W3C provide 
some good examples, rather than stay stuck in the paper age.]

2) It seems nobody noticed, but please use the full brightness gammut of 
the display device. I don't understand why displaying body text in dark 
gray (#2f2f2f) would make the text any more readable, in particular when 
there is lots of ambient light. To me the whole thing looks like the ink 
was running out. Headings,... are even lighter (#4f4f4f).

3) That then would allow to make the examples a bit darker, too. It's 
good to use a somewhat lighter tone for the examples, that automatically 
enforces the message that they are not normative parts of the spec, but 
as they are currently, I get tired reading them.

4) The bold font in the examples is way too bold in Safari. For whatever 
reason, it looks much less bold (and better) in all four other browsers 
I checked.

5) The light blue color for the links is too light (see above) and 
therefore not very readable, too eye-catching to detract from reading 
the text, and too 'cute' for a spec. Most of these points also apply in 
the other cases where light blue is used.

6) Good typography is a lot about messaging. The new style, to me at 
least, seems to aim for a message of high quality, but is too much 
slanted towards high quality poetry and not enough towards high quality 
engineering. I wonder to what extent messages such as "this is about 
precision" or "I'm the spec, you aren't going to mess with me" were part 
of the (maybe implicit) design brief for the redesign? With the current 
design, it may be easier to catch the eye of a Web designer, but do we 
think that this design is appropriate for specs e.g. about Web Services?

Regards,   Martin.

On 2011/11/29 1:52, Vincent Hardy wrote:
> Dear Working Group Chairs,
> As part of editorial work in the CSS and SVG Working Groups, I have started a specification styling project to improve the readability of our specifications. I have been working with Ben Schwarz, a designer and typographer with experience [1] in this area. I will also be working with Elika Etemad and Divya Manian on this effort. We have an Editor's Draft that illustrates the draft styles:
> http://dev.w3.org/csswg/css3-transforms/
> (select the 'additional spec. style toggle in the upper right).
> and also:
> http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/FXTF/raw-file/tip/custom/index.html
> (which uses the style by default).
> If you are interested in providing feedback on the styles or wish to participate in this project, please contact me, otherwise no actions are required of your group. In a few months, in coordination with the W3C Comm Team, we will assess the feedback we receive and determine whether we should seek broader adoption of the styles.
> Thank you,
> Vincent Hardy
> [1] http://developers.whatwg.org/
Received on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 02:00:40 UTC

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