By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Manage your Cookies Settings.
424,680 Members | 1,890 Online
Bytes IT Community
+ Ask a Question
Need help? Post your question and get tips & solutions from a community of 424,680 IT Pros & Developers. It's quick & easy.

Font sizes - Best practice... px vs. em

P: n/a
Simple question... which is better to use for defining font sizes and why?
px and em seem to be the leading candidates. I know what the general answer
is going to be, but I'm hoping to ultimately get some good real world
examples.

Fire away! :)

Regards,
Peter Foti
Jul 20 '05 #1
Share this Question
Share on Google+
131 Replies


P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
Simple question... which is better to use for defining font sizes
em
and why?
For reasons discussed in ciwas *numerous* times before. Google will
help you find them if you haven't already read them.
I know what the general answer is going to be,
Then why pose the question? Seems like an waste of your time.
but I'm hoping to ultimately get some good real world examples.


examples of sites that use em for font-size? Ok, here's two:

http://www.julietremblay.com/
http://people.umass.edu/btrembla/

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
Simple question... which is better to use for defining font sizes and why?
px and em seem to be the leading candidates. I know what the general answer
is going to be, but I'm hoping to ultimately get some good real world
examples.

Fire away! :)


wrong

px is no use...it causes accessibility pro[lems and you have no way of
predicting it's appearance anyway...em is better, but the main use for em
is in relating non text elements to text size

the best bet in most cases is to leave main body text as the default size
and define larger and smaller text with %...it is the most predictable and
accessible method

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"
Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:TWGcb.431331$cF.134857@rwcrnsc53...
Peter Foti wrote:
Simple question... which is better to use for defining font sizes


em
and why?


For reasons discussed in ciwas *numerous* times before. Google will
help you find them if you haven't already read them.
I know what the general answer is going to be,


Then why pose the question? Seems like an waste of your time.

Not at all. It's just like watching a TV show you've already seen. :)
Actually, I'm trying to convert from the dark side but I still have some
reservations about ems, despite the fact that so many people sing their
praises. For example, since ems seem to inherit from parent font sizes,
then is it best to set a top level absolute font size? For obvious reasons,
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA. But if those browsers
have different default font size values, then something might come out
looking rediculously large or small on a different browser (especially if
you have any sort of nesting). So should I start with something like this:

<style type="text/css">
body
{
font-size: 12px;
}
h1
{
font-size: 2em;
}
</style>

Also, what about the differences with font sizes in relation to the actual
font family? For example, Verdana looks larger than Times, so perhaps
something that looks good in Verdana font with an em font size will look too
small when inherited by something with Times font. How are these issues
addressed in the real world... that's what I'm hoping to learn. :)

Thanks for your input.
-Peter

but I'm hoping to ultimately get some good real world examples.


examples of sites that use em for font-size? Ok, here's two:

http://www.julietremblay.com/
http://people.umass.edu/btrembla/

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

For obvious reasons,
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.


no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
Peter Foti pounced upon this pigeonhole and pronounced:
"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:TWGcb.431331$cF.134857@rwcrnsc53...
Peter Foti wrote:
Simple question... which is better to use for defining font sizes
em
and why?


For reasons discussed in ciwas *numerous* times before. Google will
help you find them if you haven't already read them.
I know what the general answer is going to be,


Then why pose the question? Seems like an waste of your time.

Not at all. It's just like watching a TV show you've already seen. :)
Actually, I'm trying to convert from the dark side but I still have some
reservations about ems, despite the fact that so many people sing their
praises.


It takes a while to grasp the concept.
For example, since ems seem to inherit from parent font sizes,
then is it best to set a top level absolute font size?
ems are the visitors default font size. They inherit the same as 12px
would inherit.
For obvious reasons,
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.
If your site falls apart between those three browsers, you've done
something wrong. Think: no two visitors have the same setup as you do.
What if visitor has a text browser? Or is partially blind? Or totally
blind?
But if those browsers
have different default font size values, then something might come out
looking rediculously large or small on a different browser (especially if
you have any sort of nesting). So should I start with something like this:

<style type="text/css">
body
{
font-size: 12px;
}
h1
{
font-size: 2em;
}
</style>
body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */
h1 { font-size: 200%; }

Also, what about the differences with font sizes in relation to the actual
font family? For example, Verdana looks larger than Times, so perhaps
There are many many threads as to why Verdana is not a good idea.
something that looks good in Verdana font with an em font size will look too
small when inherited by something with Times font. How are these issues
addressed in the real world... that's what I'm hoping to learn. :)


Can you show why you would want to mix Verdana (or any sans-serif font)
with a serif font? Times is generally ugly, imo. You could use Times in a
*print* style sheet, though, or better yet, just specify serif.

body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */
h1 { font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 150%; }
p { font-family: serif; } /* not recommended for screen, imo */
#footnote { font-size: 90%; }

Have a look at this site of mine. Make your browser window big or small,
make your default font size big or small. Change the resolution of your
monitor. Use a text browser. Notice how everything floats, and you are in
charge.
http://www.freezeblock.com/

--
-bts
-This space intentionally left blank.
Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a
On Thu, 25 Sep 2003, Peter Foti wrote:
then is it best to set a top level absolute font size?
No. If the reader's default font size isn't the one that they want,
that's their fault. If it _is_ the one that they want, how pleased
will they be when you go and change it?
For obvious reasons,
bzzzt - next contestant please...
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera,
You don't seriously believe that the end users will display your page
on all of those browsers and award points for similarity?

If your customer mistakenly believes that, then you (as the expert in
such matters) are tasked with making it clear to them why that is
wrong.
or any other UA.
Such as Lynx, or a Brailler? A theatre projector, a hand-held
display?
But if those browsers
have different default font size values, then something might come out
looking rediculously large or small on a different browser (especially if
you have any sort of nesting).
You don't seriously believe that users have their default font size
_soooo_ far away from reality? It's your job to make a design that
copes with what they've got and what they need, based on the size
choices they already made.
Also, what about the differences with font sizes in relation to the actual
font family?


The answer's the same as the last hundred times this has been played
out on the groups.

[superfluous quotage snipped.]
Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
Eric Jarvis wrote:
[snip]
px is no use...it causes accessibility pro[lems and you have no way of
predicting it's appearance anyway...em is better, but the main use
for em is in relating non text elements to text size

the best bet in most cases is to leave main body text as the default
size and define larger and smaller text with %...it is the most
predictable and accessible method


I read the following and realised that if you get too fussy you can't win!

http://www.thenoodleincident.com/tut...ont/index.html

So I do what you say, and use % from smallest to largest. (San-serif fonts can
look larger than serif, so I let small san-serif areas get down to about 75% -
80% of the serif size for minor purposes. I don't use serif fonts less than
100%. But I've had criticisms about all this too).

But ...

What should you put in the CSS "body" rule, or elsewhere? Should you set an
initial value (eg. medium) or leave it to default, or what? Is medium the
default? I got a bit confused when reading a Microsoft page on the subject,
below. "In standards-compliant mode, the default font-size is small, not
medium. If not explicitly set, font-size returns a point value".

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...rties/font.asp

Although this has been thrashed out before, I assert that there is no
consensus. I feel that there are simply people with different views who all
think they've won the argument!

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a

"Beauregard T. Shagnasty" <a.*********@example.invalid> wrote in message
news:UG*****************@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
Have a look at this site of mine. Make your browser window big or small, > make your default font size big or small. Change the resolution of your monitor. Use a text browser. Notice how everything floats, and you are in
charge.
http://www.freezeblock.com/


Actually, In Firebird and IE6, if the window is too small and the navigation
starts to wrap, it covers the navigation above it. I'm just nitpicking. :)

Jonathan
Jul 20 '05 #9

P: n/a
Barry Pearson wrote:
Eric Jarvis wrote:
[snip]
px is no use...it causes accessibility pro[lems and you have no way of
predicting it's appearance anyway...em is better, but the main use
for em is in relating non text elements to text size

the best bet in most cases is to leave main body text as the default
size and define larger and smaller text with %...it is the most
predictable and accessible method


I read the following and realised that if you get too fussy you can't win!

http://www.thenoodleincident.com/tut...ont/index.html

So I do what you say, and use % from smallest to largest. (San-serif fonts can
look larger than serif, so I let small san-serif areas get down to about 75% -
80% of the serif size for minor purposes. I don't use serif fonts less than
100%. But I've had criticisms about all this too).

But ...

What should you put in the CSS "body" rule, or elsewhere? Should you set an
initial value (eg. medium) or leave it to default, or what? Is medium the
default? I got a bit confused when reading a Microsoft page on the subject,
below. "In standards-compliant mode, the default font-size is small, not
medium. If not explicitly set, font-size returns a point value".

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...rties/font.asp

Although this has been thrashed out before, I assert that there is no
consensus. I feel that there are simply people with different views who all
think they've won the argument!


I work on the basis that since it is impossible to predict the user's
browsing environment one has a choice...attempt to control their
environment which risks making the site totally unusable...or assume that
the vast majority of viewers would have altered their settings if they
couldn't read sites at them...once one chooses the latter the objective is
setting things so that they alter predictably compared to the default,
rather than aiming for either control or absolute consistency

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"
Jul 20 '05 #10

P: n/a
Jonathan Snook pounced upon this pigeonhole and pronounced:

"Beauregard T. Shagnasty" <a.*********@example.invalid> wrote in message
news:UG*****************@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
Have a look at this site of mine. Make your browser window big or small, >

make your default font size big or small. Change the resolution of your
monitor. Use a text browser. Notice how everything floats, and you are in
charge.
http://www.freezeblock.com/


Actually, In Firebird and IE6, if the window is too small and the navigation
starts to wrap, it covers the navigation above it. I'm just nitpicking. :)


Yeah, I know. <g> At about 600px the buttons wrap. I wanted to make them a
bit smaller, but the client's wife objected. She insisted that I alter the
original colors as well.

I don't think there are any other glaring errors, though. Hopefully, it
will illustrate to the OP how websites should flex.

--
-bts
-This space intentionally left blank.
Jul 20 '05 #11

P: n/a
Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:

body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */


But adding this rule can prevent WinIE from doing bizarre scaling with
View->Text Size changes. It doesn't hurt to include it.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)un(dash). Mail sent to the un
address is considered spam and automatically deleted.

Jul 20 '05 #12

P: n/a
kchayka wrote:
Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:
body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */


But adding this rule can prevent WinIE from doing bizarre scaling with
View->Text Size changes. It doesn't hurt to include it.


Except in NS 4.79/win2k, where that actually causes a larger font size
to be displayed.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #13

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:TWGcb.431331$cF.134857@rwcrnsc53...
Then why pose the question? Seems like an waste of your time.


Not at all. It's just like watching a TV show you've already seen. :)


Not at all. A TV show won't be produced anew every time you see it. They
get a tape from the archive and that's all. It's like you getting the
answers from the archive (e.g. Google).
--
Johannes Koch
In te domine speravi; non confundar in aeternum.
(Te Deum, 4th cent.)

Jul 20 '05 #14

P: n/a
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:

For obvious reasons,
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.

no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain


Let me correct myself... I want the site to look the same (or very similar)
whether the user is browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA, but
without taking away the user's ability to make the site use their own
usability settings (for someone with a disability, for example). Also, it
should degrade nicely (for obsolete UA versions, or text based UAs). But
for the most part, I want the user's experience to be the same no matter
which browser they use.

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"

Jul 20 '05 #15

P: n/a
"Beauregard T. Shagnasty" <a.*********@example.invalid> wrote in message
news:UG*****************@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
Also, what about the differences with font sizes in relation to the actual font family? For example, Verdana looks larger than Times, so perhaps
There are many many threads as to why Verdana is not a good idea.


Really? I haven't seen those. I typically use Arial, but have occasionally
used verdana. I'll have to look into that. :)
something that looks good in Verdana font with an em font size will look too small when inherited by something with Times font. How are these issues
addressed in the real world... that's what I'm hoping to learn. :)


Can you show why you would want to mix Verdana (or any sans-serif font)
with a serif font? Times is generally ugly, imo. You could use Times in a
*print* style sheet, though, or better yet, just specify serif.


I typically don't use Times, but I can imagine it being used in a newspaper
website, where perhaps news articles use Times, but the main site navigation
is a sans-serif font.
Jul 20 '05 #16

P: n/a
"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:EHPcb.432905$cF.137601@rwcrnsc53...
kchayka wrote:
Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:
body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */
But adding this rule can prevent WinIE from doing bizarre scaling with
View->Text Size changes. It doesn't hurt to include it.


Except in NS 4.79/win2k, where that actually causes a larger font size
to be displayed.


Ah yes... the evil NS 4! Who cares how web sites look in that browser. ;)

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #17

P: n/a
"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:Pi*******************************@ppepc56.ph. gla.ac.uk...
On Thu, 25 Sep 2003, Peter Foti wrote:
then is it best to set a top level absolute font size?
No. If the reader's default font size isn't the one that they want,
that's their fault. If it _is_ the one that they want, how pleased
will they be when you go and change it?


Honestly, I think most users probably don't even realize the amount of
control they have over this sort of thing and just judge a website by how it
is displayed in their browser. If it looks like crap because their
browser's default font size is too large (which is often the case IMO), then
they're going to think "this website sucks". Which is why it would be nice
to create a page where the author sets the default top level font, but the
user should still be able to change it if they need to.
For obvious reasons,
bzzzt - next contestant please...
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera,


You don't seriously believe that the end users will display your page
on all of those browsers and award points for similarity?


No, but at the same time I don't want to alienate any users by creating a
site that looks good in one browser and not in another.

If your customer mistakenly believes that, then you (as the expert in
such matters) are tasked with making it clear to them why that is
wrong.
or any other UA.
Such as Lynx, or a Brailler? A theatre projector, a hand-held
display?


I neglected to mention that the site should be able to degrade nicely (but
need not look as similar) for obsolete browsers, or non-graphical UAs.
But if those browsers
have different default font size values, then something might come out
looking rediculously large or small on a different browser (especially if you have any sort of nesting).
You don't seriously believe that users have their default font size
_soooo_ far away from reality? It's your job to make a design that
copes with what they've got and what they need, based on the size
choices they already made.


Like I said... I think most users don't actually make this choice, and the
browser defaults are often different.
Also, what about the differences with font sizes in relation to the actual font family?


The answer's the same as the last hundred times this has been played
out on the groups.

[superfluous quotage snipped.]

Jul 20 '05 #18

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:

For obvious reasons,
I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is
browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.


no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain


Let me correct myself... I want the site to look the same (or very similar)
whether the user is browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA, but
without taking away the user's ability to make the site use their own
usability settings (for someone with a disability, for example). Also, it
should degrade nicely (for obsolete UA versions, or text based UAs). But
for the most part, I want the user's experience to be the same no matter
which browser they use.


that doesn't answer the question...why do you want them to have the same
experience?

I make a browser choice to suit myself...mostly I'm in a hurry so I'm
using something quite cut down and I'm multitasking so I'm using a small
window...sometimes I'm browsing for the pleasure of it and I'll use all
the browser features and a maximised window

I don't even always want the same experience as myself, let alone the same
as anyone else...I know people who like a large display and plenty of
features as a default...I know others who choose their browser purely for
speed or for a small footprint...we've chosen our browsers because they
give the sort of browsing experience we want...why is it obvious that you
should want to override that?

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"
Jul 20 '05 #19

P: n/a
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:
>
> For obvious reasons,
> I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is > browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.
>

no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain
Let me correct myself... I want the site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA, but without taking away the user's ability to make the site use their own
usability settings (for someone with a disability, for example). Also, it should degrade nicely (for obsolete UA versions, or text based UAs). But for the most part, I want the user's experience to be the same no matter
which browser they use.


that doesn't answer the question...why do you want them to have the same
experience?

I make a browser choice to suit myself...mostly I'm in a hurry so I'm
using something quite cut down and I'm multitasking so I'm using a small
window...sometimes I'm browsing for the pleasure of it and I'll use all
the browser features and a maximised window

I don't even always want the same experience as myself, let alone the same
as anyone else...I know people who like a large display and plenty of
features as a default...I know others who choose their browser purely for
speed or for a small footprint...we've chosen our browsers because they
give the sort of browsing experience we want...why is it obvious that you
should want to override that?


I don't want to alienate any users by creating a site that looks good in one
browser and not in another. I'm not saying that I want to override the
settings of the end users. I'm saying, I want something consistent across
browsers. Once I have a consistent base, then the end user is free to twist
it to their preferences. I'm not trying to override them... I'm trying to
create a common starting point for all browsers.


--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"

Jul 20 '05 #20

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

I think most users probably don't even realize the amount of
control they have over this sort of thing and just judge a website
by how it is displayed in their browser.
I doubt that this really is the problem that people claim, and the
evidence often seems apocryphal. But if you think it is, then tell
users in a help document how they can change the font size.
If it looks like crap because their browser's default font size is
too large (which is often the case IMO),
On your system? Or on theirs? If the latter, how do you know this?
then they're going to think "this website sucks".
People are on the web for information, not production values.
Which is why it would be nice to create a page where the author
sets the default top level font
based on which resolution? In short, this cannot be done in any
reliable way.
I think most users don't actually make this choice, and the browser
defaults are often different.


different <> ugly

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #21

P: n/a
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Peter Foti wrote:
I don't want to alienate any users by creating a site that looks good in one
browser and not in another.


Of course you don't - who ever suggested that you did?

What you have to accept is that a web page that looks good in one
viewing situation is going to look bad if you try to force it to be
the same in a very different situation. And then work from there.
Executive summary: flexible design.
Jul 20 '05 #22

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
> Peter Foti wrote:
> >
> > For obvious reasons,
> > I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is > > browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.
> >
>
> no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain

Let me correct myself... I want the site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user is browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA, but without taking away the user's ability to make the site use their own
usability settings (for someone with a disability, for example). Also, it should degrade nicely (for obsolete UA versions, or text based UAs). But for the most part, I want the user's experience to be the same no matter
which browser they use.


that doesn't answer the question...why do you want them to have the same
experience?

I make a browser choice to suit myself...mostly I'm in a hurry so I'm
using something quite cut down and I'm multitasking so I'm using a small
window...sometimes I'm browsing for the pleasure of it and I'll use all
the browser features and a maximised window

I don't even always want the same experience as myself, let alone the same
as anyone else...I know people who like a large display and plenty of
features as a default...I know others who choose their browser purely for
speed or for a small footprint...we've chosen our browsers because they
give the sort of browsing experience we want...why is it obvious that you
should want to override that?


I don't want to alienate any users by creating a site that looks good in one
browser and not in another. I'm not saying that I want to override the
settings of the end users. I'm saying, I want something consistent across
browsers. Once I have a consistent base, then the end user is free to twist
it to their preferences. I'm not trying to override them... I'm trying to
create a common starting point for all browsers.


you still aren't dealing with the basic question...why do you want
consistency?...you start by saying you want the right thing, excellence in
as many situations as possible...then you make a completely unjustified
assumption that this requires consistency

you are wasting time and effort on an unachievable goal that isn't
actually part of your intended overall aim

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"Hey Lord don't ask me questions
There ain't no answer in me"
Jul 20 '05 #23

P: n/a
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:
> "Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
> > Peter Foti wrote:
> > >
> > > For obvious reasons,
> > > I want my site to look the same (or very similar) whether the user
is
> > > browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other UA.
> > >
> >
> > no...the reason isn't obvious...please explain
>
> Let me correct myself... I want the site to look the same (or very similar)
> whether the user is browsing with IE, Mozilla, Opera, or any other
UA, but
> without taking away the user's ability to make the site use their
own > usability settings (for someone with a disability, for example). Also, it
> should degrade nicely (for obsolete UA versions, or text based UAs).

But
> for the most part, I want the user's experience to be the same no
matter > which browser they use.
>

that doesn't answer the question...why do you want them to have the same experience?

I make a browser choice to suit myself...mostly I'm in a hurry so I'm
using something quite cut down and I'm multitasking so I'm using a small window...sometimes I'm browsing for the pleasure of it and I'll use all the browser features and a maximised window

I don't even always want the same experience as myself, let alone the same as anyone else...I know people who like a large display and plenty of
features as a default...I know others who choose their browser purely for speed or for a small footprint...we've chosen our browsers because they give the sort of browsing experience we want...why is it obvious that you should want to override that?


I don't want to alienate any users by creating a site that looks good in

one browser and not in another. I'm not saying that I want to override the
settings of the end users. I'm saying, I want something consistent across browsers. Once I have a consistent base, then the end user is free to twist it to their preferences. I'm not trying to override them... I'm trying to create a common starting point for all browsers.


you still aren't dealing with the basic question...why do you want
consistency?...you start by saying you want the right thing, excellence in
as many situations as possible...then you make a completely unjustified
assumption that this requires consistency


I want consistency because it makes it more likely that 2 average (default)
users will have the same experience when they visit the site (unless they
WANT to have a different experience, in which case they would change their
settings).

you are wasting time and effort on an unachievable goal that isn't
actually part of your intended overall aim

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"Hey Lord don't ask me questions
There ain't no answer in me"

Jul 20 '05 #24

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
[snip]
No, but at the same time I don't want to alienate any users by
creating a site that looks good in one browser and not in another.

[snip]

I note the lack of sympathy you are getting from Alan J Flavell and Eric
Jarvis. They are formidable opponents! But in a fairly narrow sense I am on
your side. I'll try to stay focussed.

When we produce web sites, there are all sorts of things that we have no
control over. I upload photograph pages, and someone looks at them on an
uncalibrated monitor and criticises the colour balance. We do our honest best
to have good style sheets, and someone using a company PC with NN4.7 on it
gets a weird view of what we've done. With the best will in the world, we
can't please everyone all the time, and many people may never be able to see
what we've done. We have to live with it.

But there is a very well known strategy to adopt, whenever we are being
buffetted by diversity that is bordering on near-anarchy:

"Control the controllables".

Some things ARE under our control. We can control them and hence reduce
complexity. If we failed to ensure that our site looked good with Opera 7.2
with (say) standard settings, how can we sort out a problem if a user is using
Opera 7.2 with non-standard settings? Is the problem with our site, or Opera
7.2, or the settings?

Consider the following page. I had lots of problems wondering why I was
getting different presentations of the H1 and H2 heading boxes. They were
intended to have the text exactly midway vertically. It was varying from one
browser to the next.

http://www.barry.pearson.name/photog...olios/lrps.htm

I could have shrugged my shoulders and said "the web is like that, I've got to
accept it". But, first, it really mattered to me; and second, for all I know
the differences between different browsers will increase because of some other
factors. There may be all sorts of reasons why it will get changed / distorted
/ screwed-up later. But I want it to look right, by MY standards, when it
leaves me. So I identified that problem was different default top & bottom
margins in different browsers, and now set the margins of headers in the CSS.

If I resigned myself to the uncalibrated monitors, etc, of all the people who
may view my photographs, I might cease to care about what I put on the web
because it out of my control. But I process them to sRGB colour space on a
calibrated monitor, enabling a considerable degree of consistency among
willing participants. Then when a problem arises, I may rapidly be able to say
"the problem is at your end, not mine". And if they disagree - they can look
elsewhere! (There are 1000s more photograph sites they can look at. There are
millions more viewers I may be able to reach).

"Control the controllables".

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #25

P: n/a
Brian wrote:
[snip]
People are on the web for information, not production values.

[snip]

Some may be. Not all.

For example, photographers looking at the web sites of other photographers may
be primarily concerned with the quality of the photographs and the quality of
their presentation.

People are on the web for very many different reasons, with many different
implications for authoring.

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #26

P: n/a
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Peter Foti wrote:
Like I said... I think most users don't actually make this choice,


By not looking for the adjustments, they already did make a choice:
they consented to the size which their vendor set for them.

Just as if they'd switched on the TV and never looked for the volume
control.
Jul 20 '05 #27

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

I think most users probably don't even realize the amount of
control they have over this sort of thing and just judge a website
by how it is displayed in their browser.
I doubt that this really is the problem that people claim, and the
evidence often seems apocryphal. But if you think it is, then tell
users in a help document how they can change the font size.
If it looks like crap because their browser's default font size is
too large (which is often the case IMO),
On your system? Or on theirs? If the latter, how do you know this?
then they're going to think "this website sucks".
People are on the web for information, not production values.
Which is why it would be nice to create a page where the author
sets the default top level font
based on which resolution? In short, this cannot be done in any
reliable way.
I think most users don't actually make this choice, and the browser
defaults are often different.


different <> ugly

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #28

P: n/a
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003 13:22:46 -0400, "Peter Foti"
<pe****@systolicnetworks.com> wrote:
you still aren't dealing with the basic question...why do you want
consistency?...you start by saying you want the right thing, excellence in
as many situations as possible...then you make a completely unjustified
assumption that this requires consistency


I want consistency because it makes it more likely that 2 average (default)
users will have the same experience when they visit the site (unless they
WANT to have a different experience, in which case they would change their
settings).


Experience, is the interaction between the user and the site, it's not
the appearance, look at the big online brands, they have by
traditional brand ideas atrocious brand designs, yet their brands are
well known, and well understood. That's due to the interaction
experience not the look.

Two users of the same UA settings etc. will get an identical look, and
it will meet their interaction conventions on the good sites they're
used to. The user of a different UA will get a different look, but it
would mimic the interaction experience of the other sites they're used
to.

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/

Jul 20 '05 #29

P: n/a
Barry,
Very well put.
-Peter
Jul 20 '05 #30

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

I want consistency because it makes it more likely that 2 average (default)
users will have the same experience when they visit the site (unless they
WANT to have a different experience, in which case they would change their
settings).


one last time

why is it an advantage that all visitors have the same
experience?...almost nobody will visit your site in several different
browsers...the chances are that NOBODY but you knows that it looks
different between Mozilla and IE...what exactly is the problem with that
if it looks good in both?

I'm trying to help...this is a realisation that has saved me an immense
amount of time and a huge number of headaches...stop and think about what
you actually NEED from a design...if you know that it will have slightly
larger margins in IE than in Opera then you can take that into account in
the design...as Barry so eloquently puts it "control the controllables"
don't waste your time trying to turn the web page into a piece of paper
before you start

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"
Jul 20 '05 #31

P: n/a
Barry Pearson wrote:
Brian wrote:
People are on the web for information, not production values.
Some may be. Not all.

For example, photographers looking at the web sites of other photographers may
be primarily concerned with the quality of the photographs


....which is content, not presentation. Perhaps I should have phrased
that differently: People are on the web for content, not nifty layouts.
and the quality of their presentation.
Not sure what you mean by this. The layout of the photos? My sister
is a semi-professional photographer. The presentation of photos on
her site was important. I think that, to some degree, presentation
and content get blurred on artists' sites. Still, when she goes to
other sites, she is after content. I've seen those sites, and their
presentation can be dreadful. But when she talks about them to me,
she discusses *only* the photos -- their composition, originality, use
of light, etc. -- and never the site layout.

Other photographers may be different, it's true. Mostly, I see
anecdotal evidence. My anecdotal evidence contradicts others' claims
about the importance of attractive layout, and especially of the need
to have things look identical in a number of browsers.
People are on the web for very many different reasons, with many different
implications for authoring.


No doubt. But the web is at the moment a content-rich and production
values-poor medium. If many people are on the web, that indicates
that content means more than style.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #32

P: n/a
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:

I want consistency because it makes it more likely that 2 average (default) users will have the same experience when they visit the site (unless they WANT to have a different experience, in which case they would change their settings).

one last time

why is it an advantage that all visitors have the same
experience?...almost nobody will visit your site in several different
browsers...the chances are that NOBODY but you knows that it looks
different between Mozilla and IE...what exactly is the problem with that
if it looks good in both?


Well, for one it makes debugging easier. If I'm designing so the site looks
the same in Mozilla and IE, then I can verify that it looks the way I
intended it to look, and I don't get unwanted surprises like all of a sudden
a border is not where it's supposed to be or some other visual bug (a
real-life problem I ran into once where, due to differences in browser
defaults, the site looked good in one browser and bad in another... mostly
the cause of a browser bug, but still...). If the site looks the same using
the defaults of each browser, and I can verify that, then if someone has a
problem with the site (using one of those browsers), I can probably be
assured that it's because they have changed their settings, so the problem
is on their end.

The problem with trying to allow for browser differences is that the design
must be much more generic... mediocre even. There are some cases where
that's just not acceptable.
I'm trying to help...this is a realisation that has saved me an immense
amount of time and a huge number of headaches...stop and think about what
you actually NEED from a design...if you know that it will have slightly
larger margins in IE than in Opera then you can take that into account in
the design...as Barry so eloquently puts it "control the controllables"
So I should assume then that font size is not a controllable?
don't waste your time trying to turn the web page into a piece of paper
before you start
Now, having argued all of that, let me say that I understand what it is that
you are saying, and in fact, I agree with much of this philosophy. My
point, however, is that the base font size should be a controllable, and
that end users should feel free to alter the appearance by changing the font
size at their own risk. For example, if I want the page to have a
particular font size, I have no problem with the user getting to my site and
saying "Hmmm... that font is too small for my bad eyes... better crank up
the font size". Fine. Do it. The site might not look the same once they
do, but that's their decision. The only difference is that I think the
author should get to decide what the base level font is, instead of the UA
maker. From there, the user can change the font to their liking. Am I
wrong? I could be. But no one has given me a reason yet as to why I would
be wrong.

-Pete

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"

Jul 20 '05 #33

P: n/a
In article <vn************@corp.supernews.com>, Peter Foti wrote:
"Eric Jarvis" <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE...
Peter Foti wrote:

I want consistency because it makes it more likely that 2 average (default) users will have the same experience when they visit the site (unless they WANT to have a different experience, in which case they would change their settings).

one last time

why is it an advantage that all visitors have the same
experience?...almost nobody will visit your site in several different
browsers...the chances are that NOBODY but you knows that it looks
different between Mozilla and IE...what exactly is the problem with that
if it looks good in both?


Well, for one it makes debugging easier.


True. If rule is "It must look exactly same"
Then start of debuggin is easy:"It does not look exactly same"

If answer is not this, your testing envioronment is seriously broken.
If I'm designing so the site looks
the same in Mozilla and IE, then I can verify that it looks the way I
intended it to look, and I don't get unwanted surprises like all of a sudden
a border is not where it's supposed to be or some other visual bug (a
real-life problem I ran into once where, due to differences in browser
defaults, the site looked good in one browser and bad in another... mostly
the cause of a browser bug, but still...). If the site looks the same using
the defaults of each browser, and I can verify that, then if someone has a
problem with the site (using one of those browsers), I can probably be
assured that it's because they have changed their settings, so the problem
is on their end.
You forget all the settings of different browsers. There is _absolutely_
no way to make website look same in all browsers. The fact that it can be
done 80% of time for 80% of browsers is irrelevant.
The problem with trying to allow for browser differences is that the design
must be much more generic... mediocre even. There are some cases where
that's just not acceptable.
No, design must be planned right in the first place.
So I should assume then that font size is not a controllable?
It isn't. That is fact.
Now, having argued all of that, let me say that I understand what it is that
you are saying, and in fact, I agree with much of this philosophy. My
point, however, is that the base font size should be a controllable, and
that end users should feel free to alter the appearance by changing the font
size at their own risk.
You mean that when he looks your site with his best money can buy screen
and has to look 2mm high letters, he then needs to make decision if he
wants to break layout to read something. Each and every time? Web is
designed so that he don't need to do that decision each and every time.
[author] instead of the UA maker.
No, USER makes the decision. Even if that decision is that browser
default font suits her just fine.
From there, the user can change the font to their liking. Am I
wrong? I could be.
Yes. Why? Because when UA maker makes decisiopn on font size, user needs
to change that once. If user would need to change that for each and every
page, that would be very stupid.
But no one has given me a reason yet as to why I would
be wrong.


Too bad there is not much we can't do if you don't want to understand.
Well, not my problem, I'll never here you again.
--
Lauri Raittila <http://www.iki.fi/lr> <http://www.iki.fi/zwak/fonts>
Saapi lähettää meiliä, jos aihe ei liity ryhmään, tai on yksityinen
tjsp., mutta älä lähetä samaa viestiä meilitse ja ryhmään.

Jul 20 '05 #34

P: n/a
On Thu, 25 Sep 2003 20:03:20 +0100, Eric Jarvis <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk>
wrote:
px is no use...it causes accessibility pro[lems and you have no way of
predicting it's appearance anyway...em is better, but the main use for em
is in relating non text elements to text size


Hmm, the W3's current public CSS for new documents seems to be:

body {
font: 14px/19px "Gill Sans", GillSans, "Lucida Grande", "Lucida Sans
Unicode", Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;
background: white;
color: black;
margin: 0px 0px 0px 20px;
font-weight: normal;
}
(e.g. <URL: http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/ > but on other pages too)

To me this not only looks hideous (I'm not a fan of Gill Sans anyway,
but it's about 40% too large for my default) it's not the best
practice we're discussing. However it would be odd for the W3
communications team to not ask their WAI people for best practice in
the area, so aren't we all getting it wrong?

Setting the body font to some big ugly mess comes with a W3 stamp...

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/

Jul 20 '05 #35

P: n/a
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Barry Pearson wrote:
I note the lack of sympathy you are getting from Alan J Flavell and Eric
Jarvis. They are formidable opponents!


I hope we don't give the impression that we come here to have an
argument! I think we're all, in our various ways, trying to get our
best out of a medium which deliberately encompasses diversity.
Jul 20 '05 #36

P: n/a
> > [author] instead of the UA maker.

No, USER makes the decision. Even if that decision is that browser
default font suits her just fine.
From there, the user can change the font to their liking. Am I
wrong? I could be.


Yes. Why? Because when UA maker makes decisiopn on font size, user needs
to change that once. If user would need to change that for each and every
page, that would be very stupid.


Now *this* is the first sign of a good reason that I have read. However,
this means that the user is assuming that every website out there is going
to be setup to use the browsers default font sizes, which is not the case in
the real world (else we wouldn't even be having this conversation). And
couldn't the user simply decide to use an absolute font size so that every
page would use the same base font size?
Jul 20 '05 #37

P: n/a
"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:Pi******************************@ppepc74.ph.g la.ac.uk...
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Barry Pearson wrote:
I note the lack of sympathy you are getting from Alan J Flavell and Eric
Jarvis. They are formidable opponents!


I hope we don't give the impression that we come here to have an
argument! I think we're all, in our various ways, trying to get our
best out of a medium which deliberately encompasses diversity.


For the record, I don't get that impression. You believe strongly in
something... there's nothing wrong with a good old fashion debate. :) Plus
I knew (and expected) this sort of discussion when I started this thread.
And I agree with you that we're all trying to get the best out of this
medium. We may not agree on what the "best" actually is (and some of us may
not even have an opinion yet about what the "best" actually is), but the
good thing about discussion is that it can open people's eyes to new ideas
and new ways of thinking. Hopefully, when all is said and done everyone
will leave with some piece of knowledge that they didn't have before.

-Pete
Jul 20 '05 #38

P: n/a
"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
I hope we don't give the impression that we come here to have an
argument!


Yes, you did!
SCNR :-)
Jul 20 '05 #39

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

And
couldn't the user simply decide to use an absolute font size so that every
page would use the same base font size?


Why do you insist on making the user work just to make your page readable?

Why do you suggest that the user override all web sites just to make
your page readable? Some folks have resorted to this because stoopid
deezyners tend to make poor choices. Please don't become one of them.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)un(dash). Mail sent to the un
address is considered spam and automatically deleted.

Jul 20 '05 #40

P: n/a
"Peter Foti" <pe****@systolicnetworks.com> wrote:
[author] instead of the UA maker.


No, USER makes the decision. Even if that decision is that browser
default font suits her just fine.
From there, the user can change the font to their liking. Am I
wrong? I could be.


Yes. Why? Because when UA maker makes decisiopn on font size, user needs
to change that once. If user would need to change that for each and every
page, that would be very stupid.


Now *this* is the first sign of a good reason that I have read. However,
this means that the user is assuming that every website out there is going
to be setup to use the browsers default font sizes, which is not the case in
the real world (else we wouldn't even be having this conversation).


This user assumes that web site designers will honor my settings, in that
the main content to be read is allowed to be the size that works for my
eyes, at the screen resolution I'm currently using, at the DPI of the
monitor I'm currently using. That size, I have set in my browser.

Sites which are arrogant enough to try to decide for me what size the main
text should be don't get a 2nd visit from me. Period.

The fact that there *are* such arrogant web designers out there is
certainly not an argument for joining them in doing it wrongly.

Cheers,
Steve

Jul 20 '05 #41

P: n/a
Brian wrote:
kchayka wrote:
Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:
body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */


But adding this rule can prevent WinIE from doing bizarre scaling with
View->Text Size changes. It doesn't hurt to include it.


Except in NS 4.79/win2k, where that actually causes a larger font size
to be displayed.


Why, so it does! The rule could still be put in a stylesheet that NS4
never sees, though. That would shield NS4 from doing something weird,
and still prevent WinIE from doing something even weirder.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)un(dash). Mail sent to the un
address is considered spam and automatically deleted.

Jul 20 '05 #42

P: n/a
kchayka wrote:
Brian wrote:
kchayka wrote:
Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:
body { font-size: 100%; } /* <- not really necessary */

But adding this rule can prevent WinIE from doing bizarre scaling with
View->Text Size changes. It doesn't hurt to include it.
Except in NS 4.79/win2k, where that actually causes a larger font size
to be displayed.


Why, so it does!


Suprising, isn't it? I was quite perplexed when I first noticed it,
in part because it had never come up here -- at least, not to my
knowledge. In fact, NS4.79 screws up all kinds of font-sizing. It
looks like setting font-size to 90% is about equivalent to setting no
font-size at all!
The rule could still be put in a stylesheet that NS4
never sees, though. That would shield NS4 from doing something weird,
and still prevent WinIE from doing something even weirder.


That's what I do.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #43

P: n/a
Alan J. Flavell wrote:
On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Barry Pearson wrote:
I note the lack of sympathy you are getting from Alan J Flavell and
Eric Jarvis. They are formidable opponents!


I hope we don't give the impression that we come here to have an
argument! I think we're all, in our various ways, trying to get our
best out of a medium which deliberately encompasses diversity.


Chuckle! I know. I keep coming across stuff of yours on the web. Linked to
from people who clearly know what they are talking about.

My view can be summed up with the saying: "all generalisations are unsafe,
including this one".

A lot of advice on the web appears to be absolute advice: "do this". In fact
it is really conditional advice: "if you want everyone to be able to access
your web site, do this"; "if you want minimum maintenance effort, do this";
"if you want people with old browsers to be able to access your web site, do
this". Sometimes those conditions don't apply.

I recently re-processed a photograph and replaced it on the web because 2
pixels were clearly wrong. The bottom left hand corner read #555555, #2F2F2F,
on a black background. There were approximately 300,000 pixels in that
photograph. That says something about how important detail is to me when
displaying my photographs on the web. I suspect no one else in the world
noticed, or ever would have. Or only serious photographers would have. The
audience for that material tend to have good equipment and up to date
software.
http://www.barry.pearson.name/photog...hurch_01_3.htm

But another of my web sites probably looks as though a novice gathered
together some raw material, gave it an imitation of style, and uploaded it in
a hurry. In that case, what matters is the accuracy of the information. My
primary audience for that web site is at most 1,000. Even my secondary
audience is at most 2,000,000. Many of those may be accessing it from pubic
libraries. I know some of them personally.
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/

The key is that I have studied the target audiences for each of my web sites.
And what this tells me is that very different authoring styles are needed for
different cases. (I guess everyone knows that anyway). Beyond a certain point,
generalisations don't work. They have totally different trade-offs between
presentation, textual content, navigational methods, accessibility,
maintenance overheads, potential for change, etc.

There is room on the web for all of these types. All sites don't have a
potential audience of all people. It is entirely valid to develop a site that
only 1000 people with suitable technology will ever be able to view
satisfactorily. Just because we put up a web site without passwords doesn't
mean we have a duty to enable all users in the world to access it.

So, sometimes the diversity isn't that many different types of people access
particular web sites. Sometimes the diversity is that different communities of
people are sharing the same infrastructure without ever sharing the same web
sites. We share the same motorways, but may never meet socially.

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #44

P: n/a
Brian wrote:
Barry Pearson wrote:
Brian wrote:
People are on the web for information, not production values.
Some may be. Not all.

For example, photographers looking at the web sites of other
photographers may be primarily concerned with the quality of the
photographs


...which is content, not presentation. Perhaps I should have phrased
that differently: People are on the web for content, not nifty
layouts.


Some are. Some aren't. (Why generalise so much about what many millions of
other people are on the web for?)
and the quality of their presentation.


Not sure what you mean by this. The layout of the photos? My sister
is a semi-professional photographer. The presentation of photos on
her site was important. I think that, to some degree, presentation
and content get blurred on artists' sites. Still, when she goes to
other sites, she is after content. I've seen those sites, and their
presentation can be dreadful. But when she talks about them to me,
she discusses *only* the photos -- their composition, originality, use
of light, etc. -- and never the site layout.


But other photographers talk about site layout. I know that beyond question,
because I have discussed such things. She does NOT represent all
photographers.
Other photographers may be different, it's true. Mostly, I see
anecdotal evidence. My anecdotal evidence contradicts others' claims
about the importance of attractive layout, and especially of the need
to have things look identical in a number of browsers.


It is for a web author (and/or client) to decide whether looking similar in
various browsers is important. It is important to me in certain case, but
perhaps not to you.
People are on the web for very many different reasons, with many
different implications for authoring.


No doubt. But the web is at the moment a content-rich and production
values-poor medium. If many people are on the web, that indicates
that content means more than style.


No. There are very many content rich sites. There are very many
production-value rich sites. And there are very many people looking for each
type of content.

The web is a big place.

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #45

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:

The problem with trying to allow for browser differences is that
the design must be much more generic... mediocre even. There are
some cases where that's just not acceptable.
If it's not acceptable to have some cases where the design looks bad,
you'd better think flexible.
So I should assume then that font size is not a controllable?
Of course not. How can you control it when you don't know the eyesite
of the visitor? her/his resolution? her/his window size? etc.
if I want the page to have a particular font size, I have no
problem with the user getting to my site and saying "Hmmm... that
font is too small for my bad eyes
Well, you could do that. Make a subset of your total visitors change
the font-size when they hit your site, if they know how. If they
don't, I suppose it's tough luck. They'll have to suffer or move on.
That'd be a strange attitude for you to take, but it's your site. Do
what you want with it.
... better crank up the font size". Fine. Do it. The site might
not look the same once they do, but that's their decision.
The site already does not look the same. If someone has bad eyesite
and thus uses large font size, they will have less words per line, all
other factors being equal. The point is, it's ok to let it look
different for them.

But you've been saying that you want to control as much as possible so
that the site doesn't look ugly; then, if a user changes the font-size
-- "crank[s it] up," as you put it -- it's their deal. I take it to
mean that you are willing for the site to be ugly for the minority who
have special needs. Two points:

1. If a site design falls apart because the user needs larger font
sizes, you have failed as a web author. Make the site flexible in the
first place, e.g., by *not* adding absolute font-sizes in pixels. The
web looks good at any resolution, when authored properly.

2. This contradicts your desire to have it look good in any browser.
The only difference is that I think the author should get to decide
what the base level font is,
Impossible. And inadvisable even it if it were possible.
instead of the UA maker. From there, the user can change the font
to their liking. Am I wrong?
Yes. :-p
I could be. But no one has given me a reason yet as to why I would
be wrong.


Seems to me you aren't listening carefully enough.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #46

P: n/a
"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...
Peter Foti wrote:

And
couldn't the user simply decide to use an absolute font size so that every page would use the same base font size?
Why do you insist on making the user work just to make your page readable?


I don't. The whole point is that the page would be readable without the user
messing with it.

Why do you suggest that the user override all web sites just to make
your page readable? Some folks have resorted to this because stoopid
deezyners tend to make poor choices. Please don't become one of them.
I *think* I understand what your argument is here... and you have opened my
eyes!!! I now have a much better idea of what the argument is. The point
being that if a user browses most pages without problem (pages that are
using the default browser font settings) and then gets to my page and can't
read it because I have changed the font size, they should not have to change
their browser to override font settings on all websites just to be able to
read my site. A very good point.


--
To email a reply, remove (dash)un(dash). Mail sent to the un
address is considered spam and automatically deleted.

Jul 20 '05 #47

P: n/a
Peter Foti wrote:
"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...
Peter Foti wrote:
>
> And
> couldn't the user simply decide to use an absolute font size so that
> every page would use the same base font size?
Why do you insist on making the user work just to make your page readable?


I don't. The whole point is that the page would be readable without the user
messing with it.


The author setting an absolute font size goes against that idea. You
can have either an absolute font size or something that is readable
without user intervention, but not both. If the two actually do
overlap, it's just coincidence. Nothing you can count on, for sure.
I now have a much better idea of what the argument is. The point
being that if a user browses most pages without problem (pages that are
using the default browser font settings) and then gets to my page and can't
read it because I have changed the font size, they should not have to change
their browser to override font settings on all websites just to be able to
read my site. A very good point.


Yes, I do believe you are now starting to get it. :)

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)un(dash). Mail sent to the un
address is considered spam and automatically deleted.

Jul 20 '05 #48

P: n/a
Barry Pearson wrote:
the web is at the moment a content-rich and production
values-poor medium. If many people are on the web, that indicates
that content means more than style.
No.


Let me explain what I mean: high production values would be animation,
moving images, real-time video, the sort of thing that broadcast
television does well.
There are very many content rich sites.
Sure. But that's not my point. I didn't say that the web is full of
high content sites. I said the web itself is a content rich medium.
There are billions of documents one can read at any moment.
There are very many production-value rich sites.
Again, I was speaking of the web itself. The internet is quite
limited by bandwith. I'm on cable internet, and even then when I view
moving images -- short movie clips -- the quality is substantially
lower than television or a cinema. A dialup would be even more limited.

A site which tries for high production values will have very slow
loading pages, and will not be successful beyond a narrow subset of
total possible visitors.
And there are very many people looking for each type of content.


When people want high production values, they'll go the movies or turn
on television. They are unlikely to settle for the lousy quality of
audio visual presentations that the web offers. But people will
continue to use the web, probably in increasing numbers, in spite of
its bandwidth limitations, because the web offers practically
unlimited content.

I design sites while keeping in mind the strengths and limitations of
the medium. I try to make them attractive where that is possible, but
I don't obsess over a margin of 10px that is only 5 pixels on a
different browser. I believe the site's visitors will not be too
concerned about such matters, where they might be if they were
watching television.

YMMV.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #49

P: n/a
Eric Jarvis <we*@ericjarvis.co.uk> wrote in
news:MP************************@News.CIS.DFN.DE:
you still aren't dealing with the basic question...why do you want
consistency?...you start by saying you want the right thing,
excellence in as many situations as possible...then you make a
completely unjustified assumption that this requires consistency

you are wasting time and effort on an unachievable goal that isn't
actually part of your intended overall aim


I think we've got an "X-Y problem" here. Peter wants to do X (create a
site that looks *good* in all browsers), has decided that Y (create a site
that looks *the same* in all browsers) is the means to achieve that end,
and is asking for help with accomplishing Y when he really needs to be
looking for help accomplishing X.

This is a very common problem on Usenet technical groups. The solution is
to take some advice that Laurence Peter of Peter Principle fame wrote a
long time ago: state your goal in terms of the need to be served rather
than the form you expect the solution to take (Peter, writing in the 1970s,
said your goal should not be to have the best movie camera in the future,
but to have the best live-action recorder).

Using precise language helps. It's quite possible that Peter is just using
"looks similar" as a sloppy sort of shorthand for "doesn't fall apart" and
knows quite well what he means, but the hardest part of communicating
effectively with others is realizing that other people don't automatically
take the same things for granted that we do. You really have to put in an
effort to make things explicit.

As many here have pointed out, Peter's Y (near identical appearance across
browsers) is simply unachievable on the WWW as it exists today. But
Peter's X (decent attractive appearance across browsers) *is* realistic and
is not only achievable but often (though not often enough) actually
achieved in the real world. And the way of achieving it is to forget about
*identical* appearance and create a design that can be rendered in various
ways and be attractive in each of them.
Jul 20 '05 #50

131 Replies

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.