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Re: Font size


From: Joel Ward
Date: May 30, 2002 12:44PM

Designers are often worried that their layouts will fall apart if users make
their fonts larger or smaller, their screens bigger or smaller, etc. This
is especially an issue with layouts that use fixed-width tables and/or
layouts that are not very flexible. It harks back to the philosophies of
print design, and the designer's desire to control the user's experience. I
won't get into the philosophy, but I have had some heated (and productive)
discussions with designers about how the web should or shouldn't be
flexible, and if the end-user deserves to modify the page to suit their

So, designers may choose to use absolute font sizes for navigation and other
"fixed" elements so the user doesn't "mess up" their design. Often whole
pages will use absolute sizes, so users can't make ANY changes.

Of course, this goes against accessibility and flexibility.

There are two extremes: 1) Making pages accessible and flexible, giving up
"owning" control of the design and layout, allowing the layout to be
changed, and 2) Making pages 100% inflexible in order to control 100% of the
user experience.

I feel we can find a happy middle ground (weighted more toward #1, of

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