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Re: good example of contrast widget?


From: Jared Smith
Date: Apr 5, 2007 3:40PM

On 4/5/07, Austin, Darrel < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> That seems like a fairly large audience...namely anyone semi-computer
> literate and over the age of 40 who wears glasses.
> I don't see much drawback to the widgets, either. These days, they're
> fairly common on a lot of news sites and, as such, the older argument of
> 'confusing extra set of icons on the site' doesn't seem to hold as much
> weight anymore. With our own site, we've had more than a few folks ask
> if they could increase the size of type on our site.

Yes, this is a difficult topic. Balancing the benefits to some users
and drawbacks for some other users is always tricky. Certainly you
must consider your audience - and as you point out, this will be much
more of an issue as the population ages.

> It's easier for us
> to say 'use the font size widget' than to walk over to their desk and
> explain how to change all of their default window's font sizes (which,
> ironically, will break a lot of our crappy vendor-written web apps that
> were all designed without any concept of browser agnosticism or font
> size variations).

And this was exactly my point. Opera and IE 7 can scale the entire
page, but their implementations of page scaling are far from perfect.
Much of the problem stems from the two points you make, 1) that it is
neither easy nor intuitive to resize fonts in browsers, and 2) that it
breaks a lot of web sites.

Perhaps a happy alternative is to provide the accessibility 'features'
such as zoom contrast and font size on a separate options page, rather
than displaying them on every page, thus burdening those who do not or
cannot use them.

Here's another site (in addition to Tedd's) that has a PHP-based
approach for font sizing -

The advantage of doing this server-side is that the 'widget' doesn't
require javascript. Also, you can use cookies or other mechanisms to
store the settings for each user, thus allowing the settings to be
persistent across the entire site and even across visitor sessions.

> Now, that's just my opinion based on anecdotal evidence, of course...

It appears we're using the same source for evidence. :-)