[thelist] Layout Stability

Felix Miata mrmazda at ij.net
Thu Nov 8 13:12:08 CST 2007

On 2007/11/08 12:36 (GMT-0600) Stephen Rider apparently typed:

> On Nov 7, 2007, at 10:09 PM, Felix Miata wrote:

>> The web is not inherently constrained by your choice of resolutions. Its
>> very nature is one of constraint unknowns.

>> When one designs entirely using em instead of px, those unknowns don't 
>> matter. As long as the default size of an average text character is 
>> maintained in reasonable proportion to window size, screen resolution
>> matters not one iota. As a consequence, when actually designing for the
>> web's maximum potential and inherent nature, screen resolution is
>> entirely irrelevant.

> This is not entirely accurate.

Maybe it's oversimplified, but it was addressed to a context that seemed
at the time to require as much simplification as possible.

Don't underestimate the importance of a reasonable relationship between
character size and window width. In general, if the relationship isn't such
that a typical paragraph line of approximately ideal length is either
noticeably less than half the window width or more than the window width,
then the proportion has gone out of reasonable range.

> I have okay-but-not-great vision.  I'm relatively young (mid 30s) and have
> been wearing bifocals for almost 10 years.

I've been wearing trifocals for more than 10 years.

> I routinely upsize fonts on web sites.  I also have my defaults set to 14
> or 16.  Both of these cause problems on well-meaning sites that

14 or 16 what? In some browsers that would be pt, while in others, px. The
distinction is quite significant any time above average resolution is
involved. Even then, it has little meaning outside the context of known
window width, display size, and distance between eyes and display.

> base _everything_ relative to font-size.  I've seen a lot of sites where
> sizing the font to a comfortably readable level makes the page so wide
> that I have to side scroll.

I'd like to see particular URL examples of this please. Do either the ksc or
dlviolin examples I provided upthread produce this problem for you? If so, at
what window width and default font size and on what size display does this
occur, and how far away do you sit?

> I thought it a point worth making.  I MUCH prefer sites that pick a 
> reasonable content width and stick to it.  Fonts and such should still be
> relative so they can be resized in any browser.  Unless I'm putting the
> font size up to truely gigantic sizes, a well-done site works just fine
> like this.

Keywords here are "reasonable width". It's my contention that a px width is
always meaningless arbitrariness, which can be reasonable as experienced only
by chance, not by design.
"   A patriot without religion . . . is as great a
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 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/

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