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About font sizes

P: n/a
As I understand it, most browser manufacturers have agreed on 16px for their
default font size.

So, this should be an accurate conversion for percentages:

px %

16 = 100
14 = 87.5
13 = 81.25
12 = 75
10 = 62.5

I assume it's better to stick to a percentage that will yield a round number -
rather than using something like 90% to get 14.4. A browser will just round up
or down to a font size it can display, correct?

As for em, am I correct in saying 1em = 16px?

Does that mean 1.2em is 19.2px (rounded by the browser to 19px - if the default
size is 16)?

Jun 10 '06 #1
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P: n/a
deko wrote:
As I understand it, most browser manufacturers have agreed on 16px for
their default font size.
I think it is more of a case that 16px is easy to read for a majority of
users, so Microsoft set it as their default, and other browser vendors
followed suite.

Its overridable by the user though.
So, this should be an accurate conversion for percentages:
No, since you don't know that the user hasn't expressed their own
preference.
As for em, am I correct in saying 1em = 16px?


No, see above.

--
David Dorward <http://blog.dorward.me.uk/> <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Home is where the ~/.bashrc is
Jun 10 '06 #2

P: n/a
> No, since you don't know that the user hasn't expressed their own
preference.


assuming 16 is the default, and this is what the user is currently using, and it
has not been overridden....

then my math is correct.

A basic guide (based on 16) might look like this (assuming the above statement!)

137.5% = 22px (h1)
125% = 20px (h2)
112.5% = 18px (h3)
100% = 16px (large)
87.5% = 14px (medium)
81.25% = 13px (small)
75% = 12px (smaller)
62.5% = 10px (legalese)

The point is, if you are going to use percentages, you might as well adjust to a
font size that the client browser can display. If 16 is the default, then it's
best to use that as a basis for adjustment.

Jun 10 '06 #3

P: n/a
deko wrote:
No, since you don't know that the user hasn't expressed their own
preference.
assuming 16 is the default, and this is what the user is currently using,
and it has not been overridden....


That is a lot of assumptions.
The point is, if you are going to use percentages, you might as well
adjust to a font size that the client browser can display.


Systems can round font sizes to something acceptable, so there's not really
any point in worrying about it.
--
David Dorward <http://blog.dorward.me.uk/> <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Home is where the ~/.bashrc is
Jun 10 '06 #4

P: n/a
deko wrote:
No, since you don't know that the user hasn't expressed their own
preference.


assuming 16 is the default, and this is what the user is currently using,
and it has not been overridden....


That is a lot of assumptions.
The point is, if you are going to use percentages, you might as well
adjust to a font size that the client browser can display.


Systems can round font sizes to something acceptable, so there's not really
any point in worrying about it.

16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more reasonable,
surely?
--
Chris Hughes
"Reality is that which, when you cease to believe, continues to exist."
http://www.epicure.demon.co.uk
Jun 10 '06 #5

P: n/a
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 17:42:57 +0100, Chris Hughes
<ch**********@epicure.demon.co.uk> wrote:

: 16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more reasonable,
: surely?
Depends on the User's settings, as David said.

http://www.elsid.co.za/download/css_fontsizes.htm

Sid
Jun 10 '06 #6

P: n/a
Chris Hughes wrote:
16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more
reasonable, surely?


It would depend entirely on your visual acuity. Yours may be better than
mine.

A friend of mine has a 20 or 21" monitor set to 800x600 resolution so
she can read it. Me, I can read it from the next room.

--
-bts
-Warning: I brake for lawn deer
Jun 10 '06 #7

P: n/a
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006, deko wrote:
As I understand it, most browser manufacturers have agreed on 16px
for their default font size.
As I understand it, many discerning web users have agreed to choose
the default font size which they prefer to read.
So, this should be an accurate conversion for percentages:

px %

16 = 100
14 = 87.5
13 = 81.25
12 = 75
10 = 62.5
Nobody seems to have come right out yet and told you that you're
chasing the wrong hare. There's nothing useful that you could do with
this information, even if it *is* a particular "manufacturer's"
default.
I assume it's better to stick to a percentage that will yield a
round number -


I'm not sure why. It's only a rendering proposal, after all.
There's no way you can be assured of getting whole-numbers by
specifying a percentage for all of us, no matter whether we configured
our em unit as 13px or 16px or 25px or whatever - according to our
display properties, our eyesight, whatever.

Better to aim at a size which readers can comfortably read. And for
normal body text, that's axiomatically 1.0em. Recommended reading:
http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/fontsize.html

There *is* no fixed table of correspondences between absolute size
units and relative size units, nor can there be: that's the whole
reason for having both[1] kinds, after all. So don't confuse yourself
by trying to derive one. As the CSS specification perceptively
remarks:

"Absolute length units are only useful when the physical properties
of the output medium are known."

- which in the case of general WWW design, most assuredly they are
*not* known.

good luck

[1] OK, technically speaking, CSS px units are neither absolute nor
relative, in this sense, but are yet another kind of unit. But, so
far, rarely implemented to specification
Jun 10 '06 #8

P: n/a
Chris Hughes wrote:
[...]
16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more
reasonable, surely?


You're not mixing units are you? 16px looks like 12pt on my system.
Jun 10 '06 #9

P: n/a
Chris Hughes wrote:
16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more reasonable,
surely?


That depends on the resolution of the screen and its physical dimensions.
16px is tiny on an 21" 800x600 display but huge on a 14" 1600x1200 display.

Larger then needed is far better then too small to read, so its a sensible
default for systems to adopt. Users can then change it to something more
acceptable for their resolution, screen size and eyesight.

--
David Dorward <http://blog.dorward.me.uk/> <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Home is where the ~/.bashrc is
Jun 10 '06 #10

P: n/a
David Dorward <do*****@yahoo.com> scripsit:
Systems can round font sizes to something acceptable, so there's not
really any point in worrying about it.


Unfortunately, there is.

Typography rules say, among other things, that a change in font size should
be clear enough so that it does not look like an error. The mileage varies,
but let us assume that a 10% increase is desired. So if we say font-size:
110%, what will happen? The browser computers the absolute font size and
then selects the closest actual font size it can use - at the simplest,
selecting among differently sized fonts for the given font family
(typeface). For all we can know, that size could be identical to the basic
font size (when only a few sizes exist). Or it might be almost 20% larger
than the basic font size.

For example, if the basic font size is 12pt, then 110% yields 13.2pt, which
I would expect to get rounded to 13pt. However, for Times New Roman, I seem
get a bigger font (13.5pt?), which is rather big and looks bolded. If I set
the font size to a smaller percentage, there's the risk of getting no font
size increase, for some combinations of font face and basic size.

--
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Jun 10 '06 #11

P: n/a
To further the education of mankind, David Dorward <do*****@yahoo.com>
vouchsafed:
Chris Hughes wrote:
16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more
reasonable, surely?


That depends on the resolution of the screen and its physical
dimensions. 16px is tiny on an 21" 800x600 display but huge on a 14"
1600x1200 display.


Surely you meant that the other way around?

--
Neredbojias
Infinity has its limits.
Jun 11 '06 #12

P: n/a
> Typography rules say, among other things, that a change in font size should be
clear enough so that it does not look like an error. The mileage varies, but
let us assume that a 10% increase is desired. So if we say font-size: 110%,
what will happen? The browser computers the absolute font size and then
selects the closest actual font size it can use - at the simplest, selecting
among differently sized fonts for the given font family (typeface). For all we
can know, that size could be identical to the basic font size (when only a few
sizes exist). Or it might be almost 20% larger than the basic font size.

For example, if the basic font size is 12pt, then 110% yields 13.2pt, which I
would expect to get rounded to 13pt. However, for Times New Roman, I seem get
a bigger font (13.5pt?), which is rather big and looks bolded. If I set the
font size to a smaller percentage, there's the risk of getting no font size
increase, for some combinations of font face and basic size.
Yes, this is exactly what I am concerned about.

If I want to avoid specifying px for font sizes, using percentage instead, and
use this as a rough guide:
16 = 100
14 = 87.5
13 = 81.25
12 = 75
10 = 62.5


I run the risk that a font may not have a 13px size (81.25%)

Furthermore, if the user has set his default font size to something other than
the manufacturer's default (16px), then it's a crap shoot what size font will
render at a particular percentage.

So percentage may make it easier for the user to adjust the font size, but px is
the only way to have absolute control of what gets displayed.

Yet it seems IE is the only browser that cannot adjust px-specified font sizes.
If my audience is strictly FF users, then why not specify px font sizes? They
are just as adjustable as anything else.

Jun 11 '06 #13

P: n/a
Neredbojias <http://www.neredbojias.com/fliam.php?cat=alt.html> wrote:
That depends on the resolution of the screen and its physical
dimensions. 16px is tiny on an 21" 800x600 display but huge on a 14"
1600x1200 display.


Surely you meant that the other way around?


Err. Yes.

--
David Dorward <http://blog.dorward.me.uk/> <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Home is where the ~/.bashrc is
Jun 11 '06 #14

P: n/a
deko wrote:
Furthermore, if the user has set his default font size to something other
than the manufacturer's default (16px), then it's a crap shoot what size
font will render at a particular percentage.
And since you don't know if the user has specified their preference as
something other than 16px, its /always/ a crap shoot.
So percentage may make it easier for the user to adjust the font size, but
px is the only way to have absolute control of what gets displayed.
Thank goodness for minimum font size options...
If my audience is strictly FF users, then why not specify px font sizes?


Percentage also allows the author to respect the user's font size preference
and leave body text at whatever the user specified.

--
David Dorward <http://blog.dorward.me.uk/> <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Home is where the ~/.bashrc is
Jun 11 '06 #15

P: n/a
> Percentage also allows the author to respect the user's font size preference

That's not true if I use a percentage that specifies a non-existent font size.
We are back to the crap shoot. The only way a percentage has any correlation to
a user preference is if that percentage is 100%. Otherwise you never know what
you're going to get - that is not respecting the user's preferences.

If I specify 125% for h2, which should be about 20px, I can only hope there is a
corresponding font with a 20px definition. Maybe there is something close, but
maybe there isn't. For all I know, the browser may not change the font size at
all.

So it makes absolutely no sense to use percentages.

The only way to give the user control over font size is to not specify any.

The goal here is simply to allow the user to adjust the font size if he desires.

It makes no difference whatsoever if a web page defines font size in percentage
or px if the user's browser can scale the font size. If all the mainstream
browsers have the ability to scale px then you are better off using px to ensure
proper presentation of the page.
Jun 11 '06 #16

P: n/a
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006, deko wrote:
If I specify 125% for h2, which should be about 20px, I can only
hope there is a corresponding font with a 20px definition. Maybe
there is something close, but maybe there isn't. For all I know,
the browser may not change the font size at all.
Lynx won't change the font size. Neither will a speaking browser.

Presentation proposals are optional, by design.
So it makes absolutely no sense to use percentages.
By your argument, it makes no sense to propose /any/ font size, since
some browsers, by design, will ignore the proposal. I don't accept
that argument.
The only way to give the user control over font size is to not
specify any.
Illogical, Mr. Spock. Most browsers which implement font sizing have
a reasonable range of font sizes available, and will use them. The
CSS specification includes some practical suggestions for usable size
increments.
It makes no difference whatsoever if a web page defines font size in
percentage or px if the user's browser can scale the font size.
The specification allows for the possibility that the user could
/override/ the author's font size choices. Please be quite clear that
a specification-conforming override of absolute font sizing would not
scale the absolute size specifications - it would /override/ them.
If all the mainstream browsers have the ability to scale px
If you rule out browsers which implement the specification!
then you are better off using px to ensure proper presentation of
the page.


Your conclusion rests on a false premise (&/or depends on the fact
that there are browsers which choose to ignore the specification in
this regard). That's no way to decide on a good policy.
--

Beware of negative easements.
Jun 11 '06 #17

P: n/a
>> If I specify 125% for h2, which should be about 20px, I can only
hope there is a corresponding font with a 20px definition. Maybe
there is something close, but maybe there isn't. For all I know,
the browser may not change the font size at all.


Lynx won't change the font size. Neither will a speaking browser.

Presentation proposals are optional, by design.
So it makes absolutely no sense to use percentages.


By your argument, it makes no sense to propose /any/ font size, since
some browsers, by design, will ignore the proposal. I don't accept
that argument.


Not that the proposal will be ignored, but rather that the proposal will be
misinterpreted.

Using a percentage-based scale that requires rounding to a valid font size is
inherently inaccurate if the basis for the scale (user preference) is unknown.
The only way to give the user control over font size is to not
specify any.


Illogical, Mr. Spock. Most browsers which implement font sizing have
a reasonable range of font sizes available, and will use them. The
CSS specification includes some practical suggestions for usable size
increments.


This is meaningless unless we all agree on a basis for the scale. If everyone
who uses a browser agrees to set his default font size to 16, then we have a
chance at hitting those usable size increments, otherwise it's a crap shoot.
It makes no difference whatsoever if a web page defines font size in
percentage or px if the user's browser can scale the font size.


The specification allows for the possibility that the user could
/override/ the author's font size choices. Please be quite clear that
a specification-conforming override of absolute font sizing would not
scale the absolute size specifications - it would /override/ them.


well, this is semantics... override vs. scale... who cares. turn the knob one
way, the font gets bigger; the other way, smaller. That's all that matters.

Jun 11 '06 #18

P: n/a
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006, deko wrote:
By your argument, it makes no sense to propose /any/ font size,
since some browsers, by design, will ignore the proposal. I don't
accept that argument.
Not that the proposal will be ignored, but rather that the proposal
will be misinterpreted.


But that's exactly what you're hoping for! You say you want to
specify pt or px units, *but* you want the browser to misinterpret
them as relative units. That isn't what the specification says, and
so you're relying on the generosity of browsers like Moz, Opera etc.
to disregard what you're asking for, and treat it as something
different. Whereas IE, in this respect, is doing what the
specification calls for, and taking you at your word that absolute
sizing is required.

If, on the other hand, you would use appropriate sizing units, you
wouldn't need to rely on user-friendly browsers not taking your
proposals seriously, and you wouldn't have to face the problem of
visually disabled users of IE needing to find an obscure option to
disable font sizing.
Using a percentage-based scale that requires rounding to a valid
font size is inherently inaccurate if the basis for the scale (user
preference) is unknown.
That's the reality of designing for the web. So cope with it.
Most browsers which implement font sizing have a reasonable range
of font sizes available, and will use them. The CSS specification
includes some practical suggestions for usable size increments.


This is meaningless unless we all agree on a basis for the scale.


How so? It's not ideal, but it adapts better to a wide range of
presentation situations than anything else I have seen. If you were
so determined to get pixel-exact rendering, you'd be better advised to
use PDF - but I don't suppose your users would thank you for it.
If everyone who uses a browser agrees to set his default font size
to 16,
What colour is the sky on your planet?
The specification allows for the possibility that the user could
/override/ the author's font size choices. Please be quite clear
that a specification-conforming override of absolute font sizing
would not scale the absolute size specifications - it would
/override/ them.


well, this is semantics...


Seems to me that you're missing the point.
override vs. scale... who cares.
If the user overrides your sizing, then your sizing proposals have
*no* effect. The user gets h1, h2, p, big, small etc. sized as
determined by /their/ browser or stylesheet, irrespective of your
intentions.
turn the knob one way, the font gets bigger; the other way, smaller.
That's all that matters.


Really?
Jun 11 '06 #19

P: n/a
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
Typography rules say, among other things, that a change in font size
should be clear enough so that it does not look like an error. The
mileage varies, but let us assume that a 10% increase is desired. So
if we say font-size: 110%, what will happen? The browser computers
the absolute font size and then selects the closest actual font size
it can use - at the simplest, selecting among differently sized
fonts for the given font family (typeface). For all we can know,
that size could be identical to the basic font size (when only a few
sizes exist). Or it might be almost 20% larger than the basic font
size.
I don't disagree with what you have written, as a theory. But what
conclusions do you draw in terms of recommendations to authors?
For example, if the basic font size is 12pt, then 110% yields
13.2pt, which I would expect to get rounded to 13pt. However, for
Times New Roman, I seem get a bigger font (13.5pt?), which is rather
big and looks bolded. If I set the font size to a smaller
percentage, there's the risk of getting no font size increase, for
some combinations of font face and basic size.


Yes; and I get very different visual results depending on how I have
set my font smoothing options. But these details of user settings are
not something which an author can (or should) know, nor take into
account in their CSS.

regards
Jun 11 '06 #20

P: n/a
>> > By your argument, it makes no sense to propose /any/ font size,
> since some browsers, by design, will ignore the proposal. I don't
> accept that argument.
Not that the proposal will be ignored, but rather that the proposal
will be misinterpreted.


But that's exactly what you're hoping for! You say you want to
specify pt or px units, *but* you want the browser to misinterpret
them as relative units.


Let's assume for a moment a browser has all defaults, no user settings, no
overrides. If I specify 14px, then the browser will render 14px. Where is the
misinterpretation there?

If the user has defined preferences, however, then *whatever* I've specified,
*regardless* if I used px of percentage, will be interpreted (or misinterpreted,
as the case may be).
That isn't what the specification says, and
so you're relying on the generosity of browsers like Moz, Opera etc.
to disregard what you're asking for, and treat it as something
different. Whereas IE, in this respect, is doing what the
specification calls for, and taking you at your word that absolute
sizing is required.

If, on the other hand, you would use appropriate sizing units
Appropriate? The only thing that's appropriate is a font size the browser can
display. What difference does it make if I say 100% or 16px? What's displayed
in the client's browser is a matter of preference - known only by the user.
you
wouldn't need to rely on user-friendly browsers
There is absolutely no reason *not* to rely on such browser features. Thinking
otherwise is a completely Luddite attitude.
not taking your
proposals seriously, and you wouldn't have to face the problem of
visually disabled users of IE needing to find an obscure option to
disable font sizing.


Fair enough. Visually disabled users will hate my site.
Using a percentage-based scale that requires rounding to a valid
font size is inherently inaccurate if the basis for the scale (user
preference) is unknown.


That's the reality of designing for the web. So cope with it.
> Most browsers which implement font sizing have a reasonable range
> of font sizes available, and will use them. The CSS specification
> includes some practical suggestions for usable size increments.


This is meaningless unless we all agree on a basis for the scale.


How so? It's not ideal, but it adapts better to a wide range of
presentation situations than anything else I have seen. If you were
so determined to get pixel-exact rendering, you'd be better advised to
use PDF - but I don't suppose your users would thank you for it.
If everyone who uses a browser agrees to set his default font size
to 16,


What colour is the sky on your planet?
> The specification allows for the possibility that the user could
> /override/ the author's font size choices. Please be quite clear
> that a specification-conforming override of absolute font sizing
> would not scale the absolute size specifications - it would
> /override/ them.


well, this is semantics...


Seems to me that you're missing the point.


What point? The only point is this:

*Users should be able to adjust the size of the text in web site.*

I'm suggesting that they can do this regardless of how the page author has
specified font sizes in his markup.
override vs. scale... who cares.


If the user overrides your sizing, then your sizing proposals have
*no* effect. The user gets h1, h2, p, big, small etc. sized as
determined by /their/ browser or stylesheet, irrespective of your
intentions.


And would this be any different if I used percentage sized fonts? No, it would
not make any difference at all.
turn the knob one way, the font gets bigger; the other way, smaller.
That's all that matters.


Really?


Yes, of course.
Jun 11 '06 #21

P: n/a
deko wrote:
As I understand it, most browser manufacturers have agreed on 16px for their
default font size.

So, this should be an accurate conversion for percentages:
px %
16 = 100
14 = 87.5
13 = 81.25
12 = 75
10 = 62.5
Yes. And it is basically useless as a layout guide.
Use percentages that produce the type of result you wish to display for
a variety of default font sizes.
I assume it's better to stick to a percentage that will yield a round number -
rather than using something like 90% to get 14.4. A browser will just round up
or down to a font size it can display, correct?
The number of decimal places in a percentage value is irrelevant. Round
numbers are only easier for humans, not machines.
As for em, am I correct in saying 1em = 16px?
No. It is the distance between baselines with a default line-height.
Although for practical purposes it is close enough.
Does that mean 1.2em is 19.2px (rounded by the browser to 19px - if the default
size is 16)?

Only if, in the current CSS context, the font size corresponds to 16px.
If the font size has changed to font-size:125% (and assuming the original
font-size was 16px), 1.2em is then 1.2 * (125% * 16px) = 24px.

body { font-size: 100%; }
p { font-size: 125%; }

--
jmm (hyphen) list (at) sohnen-moe (dot) com
(Remove .AXSPAMGN for email)
Jun 11 '06 #22

P: n/a
Jim Moe <jm***************@sohnen-moe.com> scripsit:
As for em, am I correct in saying 1em = 16px?
No. It is the distance between baselines with a default line-height.


No, 1em is the size of the font, and for font-size, it exceptionally means
the font size of the enclosing element ("parent").

The distance between baselines is, by definition, the line height, which is
generally larger than 1em. Typical browser defaults for line height are
around 1.2em.
Although for practical purposes it is close enough.


For practical purposes, 1em can be anything when mapped to a physical size.
I don't think nobody argues about the observation that 16px is the most
common browser default.

--
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Jun 11 '06 #23

P: n/a
Alan J. Flavell <fl*****@physics.gla.ac.uk> scripsit:
I don't disagree with what you have written, as a theory. But what
conclusions do you draw in terms of recommendations to authors?
I really don't know. It seems that one cannot use percentages reliably to
create suitable variation in font size in text. Using the size keywords
(e.g., font-size: larger) doesn't work well either, since I cannot know what
they are really mapped to.
But these details of user settings are
not something which an author can (or should) know, nor take into
account in their CSS.


The point is that this situation makes font size variation inside a document
rather dubious, except for headings and other texts for which we use rather
large font sizes. For example, to indicate a passage as less important, any
method for making its font size smaller seems to be rather risky - the main
risks being that the result is too small and that there is no actual change
in font size

--
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Jun 11 '06 #24

P: n/a
deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote:
Using a percentage-based scale that requires rounding to a valid font size is
inherently inaccurate if the basis for the scale (user preference) is unknown.
Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?

If so, then HTML+CSS is the wrong medium for your content.
If everyone who uses a browser agrees to set his default font size to 16,
The phrase "unclear on the concept" comes to mind...
well, this is semantics... override vs. scale... who cares.


Well, here's a "scale" that you proposed using in an earlier message:

16px = 100%
14px = 87.5%
13px = 81.25%
12px = 75%
10px = 62.5%

and here's what my browser would display, as it's normally configured:

100% = 13px
87.5% = 12px
81.25% = 12px
75% = 12px
62.5% = 12px

So, what's the difference between the browser overriding the font size or
scaling the font size?
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"Good teachers are costly. Bad teachers cost more." - Bob Talbert
Jun 12 '06 #25

P: n/a
On Mon, 12 Jun 2006, Darin McGrew wrote:

[...]
So, what's the difference between the browser overriding the font
size or scaling the font size?


The difference, as I see it, is between - on the one hand - an author
asking for something inappropriate (in this case, absolute or px size
units for use in the general web context), and relying on (most)
browsers to do something more sensible instead of what he asked for;
and - on the other hand - an author who is working *with* the medium,
rather than against it.

Jun 12 '06 #26

P: n/a
> Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?
If it does not matter, then authors should not specify any font size at all!
What you are saying, in effect, is that users should program their browsers and
ignore the author's design proposal. That's silly. When you buy a magazine you
expect an attractive format by default. Would you want to program the magazine
with your explicit preferences through an interface on the cover before your
read it? Of course not.
Well, here's a "scale" that you proposed using in an earlier message:

16px = 100%
14px = 87.5%
13px = 81.25%
12px = 75%
10px = 62.5%

and here's what my browser would display, as it's normally configured:

100% = 13px
87.5% = 12px
81.25% = 12px
75% = 12px
62.5% = 12px

So, what's the difference between the browser overriding the font size or
scaling the font size?


What you're saying is that if you visit a site with px-designated font sizes,
the fact that you can adjust the font size up or down is of little consequence
because the page does not display according to your preferences to begin with
(because your preferences are expressed in percentage while the author's
preferences are expressed in px). Fair enough. That's a reasonable argument.
But it's weakened by the fact that the vast majority of users would rather
accept an author's design than specify their own. Furthermore, it assumes every
page author is proposing an undesirable design.

This is perhaps the crux of the matter.

An undesirable design is one that is illegible. Thus it is incumbent upon an
author to design legible pages using reasonable font sizes. In the case of a
poorly designed page, or users with poor vision, the problem of legibility is
solved (for px-authored pages) by the browser's override feature which allows
users to increase or decrease the text size. Now if you say, "I will not
tolerate any author's grubby design! I must have complete control over every
piece of text my browser displays!", then we are no longer talking about
usability, or accommodating users with poor vision. We might as well argue
about the color of the rug.

I'm inclined to trust an author to provide a desirable design. This may be
because I have confidence in my own ability as a web designer. I agree
usability is paramount, but that does not mean using percentage-based font
sizes. In the absence of agreement on a size scale, px will ensure that a
design is rendered properly. If there were agreement, there would not be a
problem. When I suggested 16px as a default, I was only illustrating how this
would make things easier for everyone (by the way, all the major browser
manufactures did, in fact, agree, in 2000, to 16px for their browsers' default
font size setting).

When everyone does agree, we might have a more intuitive scale, perhaps:

xx-small
x-small
small
medium
large
x-large
xx-large

And, yes, it would be easier if government were a dictatorship ;)

Jun 14 '06 #27

P: n/a
I wrote:
Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?
deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote:
If it does not matter, then authors should not specify any font size at all!
Apparently I did not make myself clear.

Authors should leave the font size for body text alone. That is, they
should specify a font size of 100% for body text.

Headings and such can be specified with relative font sizes larger than
100%. Legalese and similar fine print that the average reader can safely
ignore can be specified with relative font sizes smaller than 100%.

If all you want is for the headings to be larger than the body text (e.g.,
130%), then HTML+CSS is an appropriate medium

If you want the body text and headings to be specific sizes (e.g., 16px and
22px), then HTML+CSS is not an appropriate medium. As others have
suggested, PDF might be a better alternative in such situations.
What you are saying, in effect, is that users should program their
browsers and ignore the author's design proposal.
If necessary, yes.

If the author's design adapts to my display environment, then I'll leave it
alone. If it doesn't, then I'll switch to my browser's user mode and the
author's design is stripped away, leaving the bare content.
That's silly. When you buy a magazine you expect an attractive format by
default.
The web is not a dead-trees magazine.

See http://www.westciv.com/style_master/...oil/not_paper/
Well, here's a "scale" that you proposed using in an earlier message:

16px = 100%
14px = 87.5%
13px = 81.25%
12px = 75%
10px = 62.5%

and here's what my browser would display, as it's normally configured:

100% = 13px
87.5% = 12px
81.25% = 12px
75% = 12px
62.5% = 12px

So, what's the difference between the browser overriding the font size or
scaling the font size?

What you're saying is that if you visit a site with px-designated font
sizes, the fact that you can adjust the font size up or down is of little
consequence because the page does not display according to your
preferences to begin with (because your preferences are expressed in
percentage while the author's preferences are expressed in px).
No. I'm saying that my browser will enforce a minimum font size. The
author's font sizes (whether specified in px, percentages, or something
else) will scale as long as they don't go below my minimum font size. If
they go below my minimum font size, then my browser will override them.
But it's weakened by the fact that the vast majority of users would rather
accept an author's design than specify their own.
I admit that I am atypical. I configure my browser to display content in
spite of the author's broken design. Most users would just leave the site.
Furthermore, it assumes every page author is proposing an undesirable
design.
Not at all. I simply configure my browser to enforce a few reasonable
constraints. Sites that adapt to my browsing environment are displayed in
all their glory. Sites that fight my browsing environment are displayed in
user mode, with the author's design stripped away.
In the absence of agreement on a size scale, px will ensure that a
design is rendered properly.


No, it won't. For one thing, it creates the the illusion that you have
pixel-perfect control of your page layout.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?
Jun 14 '06 #28

P: n/a
"Beauregard T. Shagnasty" <a.*********@example.invalid> wrote in message
news:MW********************@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
Chris Hughes wrote:
16px? That's eNORMous! (I just tried it.) 12px would be more
reasonable, surely?


It would depend entirely on your visual acuity. Yours may be better than
mine.

A friend of mine has a 20 or 21" monitor set to 800x600 resolution so
she can read it. Me, I can read it from the next room.

--
-bts
-Warning: I brake for lawn deer


Why not have a high resolution, and large text icons etc. Big smooth text is
probably more readable than big blocky text

ME
Jun 14 '06 #29

P: n/a
deko wrote:
If it does not matter, then authors should not specify any font size at all!
By George, I think he's got it!
What you are saying, in effect, is that users should program their browsers and
ignore the author's design proposal.
Not ignore - join the cascade instead.
When you buy a magazine you expect an attractive format by default.


Yes, and for 500-year-old printed paper that's the best I could hope
for.

Now we have the web, and the author's size is a _default_, not a fixed
final size. I can adjust it, according to my personal circumstances
(which of course the author can't know about). This is actually an
improvement!

Well, here's a "scale" that you proposed using in an earlier message:

16px = 100%


Works great on my desktop, bit useless on my phone though.

Jun 14 '06 #30

P: n/a

Darin McGrew wrote:
Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?

If so, then HTML+CSS is the wrong medium for your content.


If it does matter (and sometimes, legitimately, then it might matter)
HTML+CSS is still an appropriate medium. The CSS protocol allows the
_choice_ of sizing behaviour, it's the mis-use of CSS dimension units
that has caused the problem. If it doesn't matter, then use ems. If it
does matter then use pixels. Everyone is happy -- or at least they are
until some dezyner insists their presentation is more important than
usable access to their content.
....And of course, Firefox has broken the whole model, from the best of
pragmatic intentions.

Jun 15 '06 #31

P: n/a
What would a dingbat know about character fonts anyway?

;-)

--
Matt Silberstein

Do something today about the Darfur Genocide

http://www.beawitness.org
http://www.darfurgenocide.org
http://www.savedarfur.org

"Darfur: A Genocide We can Stop"
Jun 15 '06 #32

P: n/a
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
David Dorward <do*****@yahoo.com> scripsit:
Systems can round font sizes to something acceptable, so there's not
really any point in worrying about it.
Unfortunately, there is.

Typography rules say, among other things, that a change in font size
should be clear enough so that it does not look like an error. The
mileage varies, but let us assume that a 10% increase is desired. So if
we say font-size: 110%, what will happen? The browser computers the
absolute font size and then selects the closest actual font size it can
use - at the simplest, selecting among differently sized fonts for the
given font family (typeface). For all we can know, that size could be
identical to the basic font size (when only a few sizes exist). Or it
might be almost 20% larger than the basic font size.

For example, if the basic font size is 12pt, then 110% yields 13.2pt,
which I would expect to get rounded to 13pt. However, for Times New
Roman, I seem get a bigger font (13.5pt?), which is rather big and looks
bolded.


Since the quantum of the screen is the pixel, isn't it a question of
whether the number of pixels that you think looks bigger than 13.2pt is
a better fit than one pixel less would be, which might be more like 12.75pt?
If I set the font size to a smaller percentage, there's the risk
of getting no font size increase, for some combinations of font face and
basic size.

Jun 15 '06 #33

P: n/a
I wrote:
Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?

If so, then HTML+CSS is the wrong medium for your content.

<di*****@codesmiths.com> wrote: If it does matter (and sometimes, legitimately, then it might matter)
HTML+CSS is still an appropriate medium. The CSS protocol allows the
_choice_ of sizing behaviour, it's the mis-use of CSS dimension units
that has caused the problem. If it doesn't matter, then use ems. If it
does matter then use pixels.


But CSS is optional, by design. If the size in pixels (or points, or
inches, or...) really matters, then the distinction will be lost when the
author's CSS is disabled/ignored. Or in media where the concept of pixels
(or points, or inches, or...) is irrelevant.

If the exact font size matters, then HTML+CSS is still the wrong medium.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"Cheaters never win; they just finish first." - Johhny Hart
Jun 15 '06 #34

P: n/a
>>> Does it really matter whether my default font size is 13px and your heading
(with a font-size of 130%) is 17px, or my default font size is 16px and
your heading is 22px?

If so, then HTML+CSS is the wrong medium for your content.


<di*****@codesmiths.com> wrote:
If it does matter (and sometimes, legitimately, then it might matter)
HTML+CSS is still an appropriate medium. The CSS protocol allows the
_choice_ of sizing behaviour, it's the mis-use of CSS dimension units
that has caused the problem. If it doesn't matter, then use ems. If it
does matter then use pixels.


But CSS is optional, by design. If the size in pixels (or points, or
inches, or...) really matters, then the distinction will be lost when the
author's CSS is disabled/ignored. Or in media where the concept of pixels
(or points, or inches, or...) is irrelevant.

If the exact font size matters, then HTML+CSS is still the wrong medium.


I don't think format is relevant to this discussion (which I've been enjoying,
by the way).

I see only two issues here. One is about usability. And this is the far more
important issue - users should be able to adjust the text size in a page
(regardless of format, pixels, percent, etc). With modern browsers/viewers,
they can, and I think we all agree on this.

That's pretty much the end of it for me, but here's the other issue:

The second issue is one of accommodating user's preferences. That is, some
users (a small minority) want to be able to scale the page author's proposed
font sizes automatically, according to their predefined browser settings. So,
when a page is rendered, 100% is mapped to 80%, 30% is mapped to 60%, and so on.
This has nothing to do with usability. It's pure preference. The problem for
users who set their browsers to do this - to change the way a page has been
authored to meet their preferences - is that current browser technology cannot
easily map px-designated font sizes to their preferences (while percentage-based
font sizes are more readily adjustable).

So the px vs. percentage debate is a tempest in a teapot. It makes absolutely
no difference in regard to usability, and very little difference for those very
few who want to alter a page author's design.
Jun 15 '06 #35

P: n/a
deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote:
So the px vs. percentage debate is a tempest in a teapot. It makes
absolutely no difference in regard to usability, and very little
difference for those very few who want to alter a page author's design.


By definition, px font sizes do not adapt to the user's default font size.
Sure, readers can override px font sizes (e.g., with a minimum font size
setting or by ignoring document font sizes).

By definition, percentage font sizes (or em font sizes, but in practice you
need to work around a bug in MSIE) do adapt to the user's default font
size. Sure, web deezyners can still specify font sizes smaller than 100%
(1em), and readers can still override such microfonts. But at a fundamental
level, percentage (em) font sizes adapt to the user's default font size in
a way that px font sizes don't.

Maybe it's time to bring this quote up again:

The font size chosen by the user as a comfortable default (1 em)
[or 100%] provides more truly useful information about the
rendering environment than all the resolution-sniffing,
window-querying, "open-this-wide" logic you can throw at the
problem. -- Todd Fahrner
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"Experience is what allows you to recognize a mistake when you make it again."
Jun 15 '06 #36

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger <hm*******************@comcast.net> scripsit:
Since the quantum of the screen is the pixel, isn't it a question of
whether the number of pixels that you think looks bigger than 13.2pt
is a better fit than one pixel less would be, which might be more like
12.75pt?


Not really. It is possible that the available font sizes, which are selected
by the browser by rounding the computed size to the closest of them, will be
further "rounded" to pixels, i.e. the glyphs will be pixelized. This is,
however, another aspect that does not change the primary issue that the
repertoire of actual font sizes is, or could be, discrete and even
relatively small. Moreover, on paper, different considerations apply. Even
on screen, smoothing may imply that in practice, the pixel does not act as a
simple quantum.

--
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Jun 16 '06 #37

P: n/a

Matt Silberstein wrote:
What would a dingbat know about character fonts anyway?


Oddly that's _not_ where the username came from. It began as a
mainframe user home directory called DING$BAT, about 20 years ago.

Jun 16 '06 #38

P: n/a
On Fri, 16 Jun 2006, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
however, another aspect that does not change the primary issue that
the repertoire of actual font sizes is, or could be, discrete and
even relatively small.
Oh, indeed: on Lynx the repertoire of font sizes is one (and on a
speaking browser, one could say that it is 'none'); but that doesn't
discourage me from proposing sizes that are intended for the more
mainstream browsing situation.

CSS is optional, by design. If, in a small number of cases, a pair of
proposed em or percent sizes results in the same display size, it's
unfortunate, but it's hardly a tragedy, and I wouldn't want to go
against other good principles merely to avoid this occasional
possibility.
Moreover, on paper, different considerations apply. Even on screen,
smoothing may imply that in practice, the pixel does not act as a
simple quantum.


Right. But even when designing a stylesheet for print-only, there's
still the paper size question: you don't know whether they use A4 or
US Letter (or maybe something else again). If it's about getting a
paper form printed, that for some reason *has* to be an exact size,
then PDF is still a better medium for doing that, IMHO.

I value HTML+CSS for its flexibility and versatility, on the other
hand.

regards
Jun 16 '06 #39

P: n/a
> But at a fundamental level, percentage (em) font sizes adapt to
the user's default font size in a way that px font sizes don't.


Absolutely. But for over 90% of users (those who don't change their browser
settings), the default font size is 16px (the browser's default), which is
unattractively large. Most page authors will adjust this down a bit, say to
14px, in an effort to make their pages more attractive. An author can specify
either 87.5% or 14px to make that adjustment. Either way he can expect his
design to be rendered properly for those 90% of users.

For those few users who *do* change their browser's default font size, we have a
problem.

If they set the default size to 14px, then the author's 87.5% becomes 12.25px,
which is a bogus size. There is no 12.25px font size. We can hope it will be
rounded, but we really don't know what we're going to get. This results in a
"crap shoot" when it comes to rendering the author's design. An author who uses
percentage-based font sizes, therefore, is effectively making his design
meaningless for users who adjust their browser's default font size. For those
who don't change their default font size, it makes no difference how the author
designated his font sizes. Nevertheless, everyone still has the ability to
*manually* adjust the font size (the browser's override feature).

The downside of px-based font size designations is that the author's design will
not *automatically* adjust to user-defined preferences. As I mentioned earlier,
this is a preference issue, not a usability issue.

The root of the problem is that browsers' default settings are specified in px -
and percentages cannot accurately be mapped to px. If browsers specified more
intuitive sizes - like small, medium, large, etc. - there would not be a problem
(other than coming to an agreement on what "medium" is). Authors would then
have assurance that their designs would scale proportionately to accommodate
user preference.
Jun 16 '06 #40

P: n/a
I wrote:
But at a fundamental level, percentage (em) font sizes adapt to
the user's default font size in a way that px font sizes don't.

deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote: Absolutely. But for over 90% of users (those who don't change their browser
settings), the default font size is 16px (the browser's default), which is
unattractively large. Most page authors will adjust this down a bit, say to
14px, in an effort to make their pages more attractive.
IMHO, it's a misguided effort. See also
http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/fontsize.html
An author can specify either 87.5% or 14px to make that adjustment.
There's a quote in my .sig file that seems appropriate:
"There is no right way to do the wrong thing."
If they set the default size to 14px, then the author's 87.5% becomes
12.25px, which is a bogus size. There is no 12.25px font size. We can
hope it will be rounded, but we really don't know what we're going
to get. This results in a "crap shoot" when it comes to rendering
the author's design. An author who uses percentage-based font sizes,
therefore, is effectively making his design meaningless for users who
adjust their browser's default font size.
IMHO, a font size smaller than 100% is appropriate only for legalese and
similar fine print that the average reader can safely ignore. Once you make
the mistake of setting the font size for body text at 87.5%, all the issues
you're so concerned about become relatively minor.
Nevertheless, everyone still has the ability to *manually* adjust the
font size (the browser's override feature).
Wouldn't it be better to adapt to the browser configuration, so the user
isn't expected to override anything?
The downside of px-based font size designations is that the author's
design will not *automatically* adjust to user-defined preferences.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a preference issue, not a usability
issue.
Or maybe it's an accessibility issue. I find microfonts to be a significant
usability problem, and I've got better than 20/20 vision. That's why I
enforce a minimum font size. But you're free to write that off as merely my
"preference" if you like.
If browsers specified more intuitive sizes - like small, medium, large,
etc. - there would not be a problem (other than coming to an agreement
on what "medium" is). Authors would then have assurance that their
designs would scale proportionately to accommodate user preference.


A very common browser-like OS component (you may have heard of it) allows
the user to specify font sizes only as Smallest, Smaller, Medium, Larger,
and Largest. CSS provides the font sizes xx-small, x-small, small, medium,
large, x-large, and xx-large, as well as larger and smaller.

How has that assured authors of anything? Web sites with microfonts are
still common enough that web browsers provide minimum font size settings.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark." - Steven Wright
Jun 16 '06 #41

P: n/a
On Fri, 16 Jun 2006, deko wrote:
Absolutely. But for over 90% of users
You've actually been out there and looked over their shoulders and
counted them?
(those who don't change their browser settings), the default font
size is 16px (the browser's default), which is unattractively large.
*You* might think so. But if *they* thought so, don't you suppose
they would start asking why, and what they could do about it?
Most page authors will adjust this down a bit,
So now we're into a deadly spiral. Authors crank the fonts down to
smaller than the user wants, so users crank it up to more than the
author wants. The authors then will respond by cranking it down even
smaller, and the users will want to compensate even further.

So why not get out of this spiral before it's even started. Design
your pages so that they can *also* cope with readers who display text
larger than you would prefer it to be.
Either way he can expect his design to be rendered properly for
those 90% of users.
"For some value of properly".

There *is* an interworking specification, after all.
For those few users who *do* change their browser's default font
size, we have a problem.
You have a problem for *all* users, excepting only those who *wanted*
your choice of font size. You have no idea who those are, nor even
how many.
If they set the default size to 14px, then the author's 87.5% becomes 12.25px,
which is a bogus size. There is no 12.25px font size. We can hope it will be
rounded, but we really don't know what we're going to get.
Again you're arguing around in circles again.

With 1.0em or 100%, we *know* that users will get the text size that
they selected - which in many cases will be the size chosen by their
chosen OS vendor. Are you *SO* certain that you know so much better
what they could possibly want, than their vendor knows?
This results in a "crap shoot" when it comes to rendering the
author's design.
It does, if the author is incapable of designing flexibly.
An author who uses percentage-based font sizes, therefore, is
effectively making his design meaningless for users who adjust their
browser's default font size.


That's drivel.

I've had enough of this. You're just trolling on and on, round and
round the same imponderables, and getting nowhere. The reason is that
you're focussing on fixing factors which the WWW simply refuses to
allow you to fix, and apparently ignoring the solution which has been
staring you in the face all the time.

And then you try to comfort yourself with the thought that you'd only
be excluding your invented figure of 10% of users. That's pathetic.

Bye.

Jun 16 '06 #42

P: n/a
deko wrote:
But at a fundamental level, percentage (em) font sizes adapt to
the user's default font size in a way that px font sizes don't.
Absolutely. But for over 90% of users (those who don't change their
browser settings), the default font size is 16px (the browser's
default), which is unattractively large. Most page authors will adjust
this down a bit, say to 14px, in an effort to make their pages more
attractive. An author can specify either 87.5% or 14px to make that
adjustment. Either way he can expect his design to be rendered properly
for those 90% of users.

For those few users who *do* change their browser's default font size,
we have a problem.


On the one hand, all these people, as they browse across the Internet
day after day after day, are comfortable enough with the default font
size not to bother taking five seconds to adjust it on their browser. On
the other hand, when they come to your web site, the same size is so
unattractively large that they rely on your to save them from the
setting that they haven't bothered to change on their own. Seems like a
fallacy to me.

If they set the default size to 14px, then the author's 87.5% becomes
12.25px, which is a bogus size. There is no 12.25px font size. We can
hope it will be rounded, but we really don't know what we're going to
get. This results in a "crap shoot" when it comes to rendering the
author's design.


Exactly! It *is* a crap shoot! It isn't desktop publishing, where you
have perfect control over the location and size of every glyph, line,
and image. Rather than remaining in denial over that fact, the best way
to design for the web is to treat it as what it is rather than as what
it isn't.
Jun 16 '06 #43

P: n/a
Now that Mr. Flavell has bowed out of the debate, I will declare check and mate
on this argument and conclusively declare px the preferred font size designator
for web development. The ax has already been laid at the root. Now, to the
chagrin of some, the tree will fall.

The pc (em or percentage-size) crowd scoffs at px (pixel-size) as if it were a
fascist plot that imposes the will of the page author upon helpless users. The
reality is that a benevolent designer will not mistreat his users, but rather
will provide a good design. For who do not like the good of the author, or
require special care, browser technology is at their disposal to adjust the
author's design to suit their own preferences.

Now, for those who insist that their preferences are more important than the
designer's (this is a fallacy; there would be no art if this were true),
technology is available in the form of a user stylesheet, which will ignore the
good of the designer and let each man do what is right in his own eyes.

Whatever the medium, format, or content, the designer has a responsibility to
provide a good design, not simply throw text at his users. px ensures the good
of the designer is not corrupted in translation; pc pretends there is no good.
px is the currency of good; pc is the currency of anarchy.

In the end, the pc vs. px debate is about preferences, or perhaps philosophy.
If we are not arguing about the color of the rug, then we are arguing about the
good. And designers, if the word means anything, are architects of good.
Jun 16 '06 #44

P: n/a
deko wrote:
Now that Mr. Flavell has bowed out of the debate, I will declare check
and mate on this argument and conclusively declare px the preferred
font size designator for web development. The ax has already been
laid at the root. Now, to the chagrin of some, the tree will fall.


No, you still lost. Days ago.

--
-bts
-Warning: I brake for lawn deer
Jun 16 '06 #45

P: n/a
deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote:
Now that Mr. Flavell has bowed out of the debate, I will declare check
and mate on this argument and conclusively declare px the preferred font
size designator for web development. The ax has already been laid at
the root. Now, to the chagrin of some, the tree will fall.


You're like an ice sculptor who complains that his sculptures look
different at the end of a party than they did at the beginning.

Or a sand castle sculptor who complains that the incoming tide is
destroying his masterpiece.

Or a baker who complains about people who cut his creation into pieces and
serve it to their wedding guests.

Artist, learn thy medium.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." - Will Rogers
Jun 16 '06 #46

P: n/a
Wrm

"deko" <de**@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:Ku******************************@comcast.com. ..
I will declare check and mate
on this argument and conclusively declare px the preferred font size designator for web development.


Just keep on doing what you are doing. That gives me more work when I have
to fix clueless noob jobs after clients find out :) Nice money in that ;)
Jun 17 '06 #47

P: n/a
On Fri, 16 Jun 2006 21:11:34 +0200, deko <de**@nospam.com> wrote:
Nevertheless, everyone still has the ability to *manually* adjust the
font size (the browser's override feature).


Until you understand that the user can select a standard font size, and
not "adjust" it, and that this is a user preference, and not an "override
feature", there's really no point in continuing this discussion.
--
Garmt de Vries
Jun 18 '06 #48

P: n/a
> Until you understand that the user can select a standard font size, and not
"adjust" it, and that this is a user preference, and not an "override
feature", there's really no point in continuing this discussion.


I completely understand that it's "a user preference". The point I'm making is
that it's foolish to try to accommodate this preference using percentage-sized
fonts. The "default font size" feature is simply a bad idea.

I'm willing to bet this feature will be dropped from future releases of Firefox
and other browsers. You may already know that Microsoft's new IE 7 does NOT
have a "default font size" feature. And if the past is any indicator of the
future, IE 7 will likely become the browser of choice (or of default) for most
Internet users. There are better ways to cater to user preference.

Let's say page A is authored using these (px) font sizes:

13px
14px
16px
18px

The larger sizes are used for headings and the smaller sizes are used for text.
These sizes are entirely legible for the vast majority of readers. If someone
has a vision problem (or just wants to see larger text), adjustments can be made
using the browser. So who cares if font sizes are designated in px or percent?
Both are adjustable.

The only argument against using px-sized fonts is that of preference. That is,
a user wants his preference to automatically trump the designer's by using a
"default font size". And here is where we have a petty and meaningless debate
over whose specification (the designer's or the user's) should have priority.

Nevertheless, let's say page B is authored using these (percent) font sizes:

81.25%
87.5%
100%
112.5%

Users who have not changed their browser's "default font size" (from the
standard 16px) will see the exact same font sizes as displayed in page A. Those
who have changed their default font size, to let's say, 17px, will have font
sizes scaled as follows:

13.812px
14.875px
17px
19.125px

With the exception of 17px, none of these font sizes exist! We are asking the
browser to display indeterminate font sizes! How is this anyone's preference?
The result (if the browser does not choke while rounding) is an approximation of
both the author's design and the user's preference. Why should any user or page
author accept this? The bottom line is that font sizes cannot be accurately
scaled using percentage because they are integer values.

px-based font sizes are the better option because they ensure the author's
design is rendered according to specification. If a user wants to ignore
authors' specifications, a user stylesheet can be used. Why have the browser
perform inaccurate and wasteful processing scaling percentage-sized fonts?
Users have better options to accommodate their preferences and/or requirements
when it comes font size.

In time, I expect percentage-based font-sizing to become a thing of the past.
Jun 19 '06 #49

P: n/a
Deciding to do something for the good of humanity, deko
<de**@nospam.com> declared in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets:
I'm willing to bet this feature will be dropped from future releases of Firefox
and other browsers.
I'm willing to bet you'll want to forget you made that prediction. :-)
13px
14px
16px
18px
Then the first 3 will be displayed at 16px on my browser. That's hardly
what you want, is it?
The only argument against using px-sized fonts is that of preference.
That they aren't relative to the user's preference, yes. And that they
aren't resizable (without delving into obscure accessibility settings)
in IE. And that pixels are going to be a different size for different
users anyway.
That is,
a user wants his preference to automatically trump the designer's
Absolutely. That's one of the strengths of the web.
And here is where we have a petty and meaningless debate
over whose specification (the designer's or the user's) should have priority.
On the web, the user always wins. Again, this is a good thing. It's even
written into the CSS specs.
13.812px
14.875px
17px
19.125px

With the exception of 17px, none of these font sizes exist!
So they get rounded to 13, 14, 17 and 19px (respectively). I defy you to
tell the difference between something that is 13.812px and one that is
14px.
The result (if the browser does not choke while rounding)
It would be a pretty lousy application if it did.
is an approximation of
both the author's design and the user's preference. Why should any user or page
author accept this?
Why not? It's close enough.
The bottom line is that font sizes cannot be accurately
scaled using percentage because they are integer values.
You still don't seem to be able to grasp that this is not a problem.
px-based font sizes are the better option because they ensure the author's
design is rendered according to specification.


So go back to DTP. The web is obviously not for you.

--
Mark Parnell
My Usenet is improved; yours could be too:
http://blinkynet.net/comp/uip5.html
Jun 19 '06 #50

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