[thelist] Font Sizing

Martin martin at members.evolt.org
Tue May 7 08:49:01 CDT 2002

On Tuesday, May 7, 2002, at 01:34  pm, Mark Gallagher wrote:

>>> The answer to both those issues is simple: "Yes, very true.  So what?"
>> I didn't realize that this was such a religious issue.  I guess I
>> haven't
>> been around long enough.
> It can be an issue that arouses much passion.  We have, on one side,
> those that like *complete* control of *everything*.

And the news for these people is "Sorry, not applicable in this medium".
(although *slightly* applicable in an intranet environment where you have
an absolute homogenous platform, which given employment law on
disability discrimination is somewhat unrealistic (the absolute bit) to

If you really, really do want this level of control, then you probably
looking at having your entire site as a set of images, one per page.

> We have, on one side, talentless hacks.

Which I'm assuming there are none of on this list

>   And we have, on one side, conscientious people
> who would *like* to help but who've read on A List Apart that you only
> get to heaven if you use pixels for font-size.

Which article is about 2 years old. The main criticisms for ems being
1) IE3 seriously breaks em-sized units. Is making a site inaccessible for
     IE3 users (who are fewer than they were 2 years ago) more of a
     than making it inaccessible to people with visual impairments? Your
     for your site, but the balance is clearly tipping away from IE3
2) NN4 ignores em-sized units, which means that you'll still get a nice
     hierarchy of font sizes from h1 down, all beautifully resizable.

The author of that article seems to accept the limitations of the @import
syntax, so perhaps it's valid to define em-sized fonts in the @imported
stylesheet, which both those browsers will ignore anyway.

The pt argument is valid btw - points are still meaningless for
screen display.

> That covers the Pixel
> People.  We also have, on one side, those who use ems because they've
> been taught it's The Right Thing To Do.  We also have, on one side,
> those with rather bad eyesight[1].
> [1] That doesn't explain why they can't have large fixed-sized text

Because they recognise that flexibility in font size is A Good Thing
which benefits others than just themselves and don't want to impose
their egos on users. See the first point above.

See, the nice thing about a lot of web technologies is that much of
the personalisation benefits which many companies spent a lot of
time and money on can very simply be achieved by using the
capabilities your browser *already has*. These will work fine,
unless you explicitly break them.


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