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

Re: Redesign Styles Hypocritical

From: Gérard Talbot <info@gtalbot.org>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 17:41:08 -0500
Message-ID: <3b78d70703edbcb4ca23679272e144a4.squirrel@cp3.shieldhost.com>
To: "Ian Jacobs" <ij@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>
> (...) after discussion with a number
> of designers, and from numerous articles on the topic, I realize it is
not that straightforward.
> Here's a summary of the approach we have taken:
>   * We do set a default font size, but it's not as small as what the
> most common font size seems to be.

My previous email had one link problem.

Browsers allow the user to set a default font size which will be applied
to any font that is not given an explicit size by the displayed page.
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
Truth & Consequences of web site design: Font size by Chris Beal

More links and relevant quotes on this issue:

site's font sizes are fixed and can't be resized.
coming from
Checklist of Bad Web Design: Checklist 2
82 Potential Mortal Sins

3.2 Does the site use relative units rather than absolute units for text
 Use relative rather than absolute units in markup language attribute
values and style sheet property values'
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines - checkpoint 3.4
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines - checkpoint 3.4
How to size text using ems

3.3 Do any aspects of the layout break if font size is increased?
coming from
Web standards checklist by Russ Weakley
Web standards - more than just 'table-free sites'

Dive Into Accessibility: 30 days to a more accessible web site
Day 26: Using relative font sizes

CSS style sheets unfortunately give websites the power to disable a Web
browser's 'change font size' button and specify a fixed font size. About
95% of the time, this fixed size is tiny, reducing readability
significantly for most people over the age of 40.
coming from
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (1996)
5. Fixed Font Size

Do not use absolute font sizes in your style sheets. Code font sizes in
relative terms, typically using percentages such as 120% for big text and
90% for small text.
Make your default font size reasonably big (at least 10 point) so that
very few users have to resort to manual overrides.
[disclaimer: I may not necessarly agree with J. Nielsen's 10 point minimum
threshold here]
coming from
Let Users Control Font Size

For this year's list of worst design mistakes, I decided to try something
new: I asked readers of my newsletter to nominate the usability problems
they found the most irritating.
1. Legibility Problems
 Bad fonts won the vote by a landslide, getting almost twice as many votes
as the #2 mistake. About two-thirds of the voters complained about small
font sizes or frozen font sizes; about one-third complained about low
contrast between text and background.
Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005, Jakob Nielsen

(...) Don't use small text. Designers are also fond of using small text
(especially on Flash sites). Hey, we're all getting older and as I often
say, 'If people can't see it, they will flee it.'
coming from
Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015 by Vincent Flanders

Myth #8: People should view a Web site the way the designer intended
False. People cannot view a Web site the way the designer intended, unless
the designer intended for the site to be viewed differently. With all the
different browsers, window sizes, fonts, font sizes, resolutions, color
depths, and other user preferences on the Web, it is simply impossible to
have a document look the same to all users.
People should view Web sites the way *they wish* to view them.
coming from
Web Design Group: Accessibility Myths
Myth #8: People should view a Web site the way the designer intended

Gérard Talbot
Received on Monday, 30 November 2009 22:41:52 UTC

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