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


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 13, 2006 6:30AM

On Fri, 13 Jan 2006, Daniel Champion wrote:

> 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,

Not really. The real problem is that users do not get sufficient help
(from browsers and people) to _configure_ their browsers' user interface
in a manner that suits them.

Whether a _browser_ should have a visual text-size control depends on the

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

Not correct. There are many styles, none of which is really obvious.
Most sites do not have such 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.

Those are among the arguments against them, but there are more, and I
won't repeat them here.

> 4. No-one is arguing that a per-site text-sizing function should be
> preferred over a global text-sizing function.

I'm not so sure of that. If I created a per-site or per-page text-sizing
function (as I have done for some demos and presentations), I would surely
make it allow many more options that the five sizes offered by Internet
Explorer. (For most people, _none_ of the sizes is really adequate; they
would need something in-between.) And I would couple it with font face
setting, if I did it seriously. Probably line height too.

> The issue is purely one of
> access to the function.

No, it isn't. It's a _different_ function, though related.
(You _could_ create a control that works, within some limits, by
changing the _browser_ settings. But please don't. Anyway, the typical
control is something else.)

There's an important point that has probably not been mentioned in this
discussion, at least not emphatically enough:

If you do not mess around with font sizes on your site,
your users do not need to resize fonts.
No matter what they might need to do on other sites.

(Admittedly, this postulates that the font size that they have chosen for
their browsing in general, either by setting it or by accepting factory
settings by not changing them, is reasonably suitable or at least
tolerable to the user. Failing this, it is difficult to imagine how they
manage to surf around.)

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