WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Font Resizers (WAS RE: back to top)


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 13, 2006 4:30AM

On Fri, 13 Jan 2006, Daniel Champion wrote:

> No, it's not vs., it's in addition to. There is no conflict in having
> both, it isn't a zero-sum game, it's about providing an alternative in
> case it's needed.

That's not correct.

Duplication of browser functions as page widgets means that yet another
element is added to a page - and an element that is a technicality, not
part of the message of the page. It distracts from the actual content
and makes the crowdedness problem a little more serious. Any new widgets
are a particular problem to people with cognitive difficulties. If you
have problems in concentrating on the content and in identifying the
meanings and purposes of each visible element (and many people have almost
a compulsion to find such things out), then anything new is a new enigma
that makes the puzzle more difficult.

Besides, it can be difficult to find out what a widget does. When I use my
browser's font size controls, I know what they do. They might not be that
well documented, but using them on different pages I have got some
impression, and I can study the issue and learn something more.
When I see an icon with three A's for example (which intuively looks like
a styled "AAA", and that abbreviation has many meanings), I can at best
_guess_ from my past experience that it is _probably_ for font size
control. I cannot know exactly how, so I do not know whether it is better
than my browser's function, whether it works across pages and even sites,
etc. If I were a virgin in browsing, I could well expect the control the
change font size on _all_ pages and get confused when this is not the

Once you start even considering the site-specific font size control as a
potential problem, rather than blindly as a solution, and list down the
actual problems, it becomes evident that it firmly belongs to the problem
category. The problems sure overweigh the possible gains.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/