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


From: Daniel Champion
Date: Jan 13, 2006 5:30AM

Jens Meiert wrote:

> Duplicating common user agent functionality should be considered a taboo
> (and that is quite a non-controversial rule when it comes to Web
> Why? Like already stated, it is redundant, and thus unnecessarily
> pages and irritates users.

My personal experience tells me otherwise. Whether it's a
non-controversial rule or not (besides, where is this rulebook and can I
have a copy please?), I have *seen* users of my site use the control to
change the text size, because they were unaware of the browser controls.
That alone makes it useful redundancy and sufficient evidence for me to
disagree with your assertion. My concern is my users, not the theoretical
weighing of advantages and disadvantages, or conjecture as to user

As to it 'irritating users', or cluttering a page, I've had plenty of
complaints about my site in my time, but can confidently state that not a
single one has mentioned the irritation of a small text-size widget. Of
course your experience may differ, which is fine, but it displays a
certain intolerance to consider as 'irritating' something which might help
a user with poorer eyesight than you.

> The argument that such a widget /might/ help
> /some/ user does not outweigh these disadvantages, and consequently, it
> just futile.

That's merely truth by assertion.

If I can try to summarise:

1. There is broad agreement that the lack of a visual text-size control in
browsers is a shortcoming, and that such a control would help users who
may not know how to access the function via keyboard shortcuts or menus.

2. There is an established convention of presenting in-page text-size
controls as icons or textual links with different sized letters. Many
users are familiar with these controls.

3. The main contentions are that these in-page controls are potentially
confusing and distracting to users, since their purpose may not be clear,
and that they only affect their host site.

4. No-one is arguing that a per-site text-sizing function should be
preferred over a global text-sizing function. The issue is purely one of
access to the function.

Is that fair if a little simplistic?


Daniel Champion - Web Dev Mgr - Clackmannanshire Council
e: <EMAIL REMOVED> t: 01259 452258
f: 01259 452265 w: http://www.clacksweb.org.uk

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