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


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 13, 2006 9:15AM

On Fri, 13 Jan 2006, Austin, Darrel wrote:

> If you've ever worked in the software industry, you know that 'help' is
> really a complete waste of time. Only the smallest fraction of people
> use it.

That's odd, because most people ask for it. I think I know what you mean,
but there are ways to use people into being helped, e.g. by making the
first use of a browser prompt for user decisions on a few essential
configuration issues.

> I would say that there is a broad agreement that the lack of a visual
> text resizer in the browser is a shortcoming. Not making a highly useful
> and needed function of the application not visible by default on screen
> is a drawback.

What is highly useful and needed is debatable. A simple font resize in a
browser does not work against most of the cluelessness of authors who set
font sizes in pixels. An overriding font resize would be a different
issue. (There _are_ many different "font resize" functions.)

> I wouldn't say 'many' styles. I've seen sized 'A's 'T's and +/-
> signs...usually prefaced with a 'type size: ' label.

Then you haven't seen e.g. the style that is de-facto standard in many
public organizations in Finland, e.g. at the official portal
(which uses "-a" and "+a", and having reached the maximum, you still see
"+a" as an active link - so there are many designs, poor and very poor).

>> (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.)
> It's not difficult at all. Go to any office and watch the folks. A lot
> of people just accept their computer/monitor/OS as-is out of the box.

They do, and that's part of the phenomenon accessibility fights against.

But if they do that despite not being able to read text in the factory
settings size, do they actually do some work?

They still have made their choice, and if they bear with it on the
zillions of pages that do not set font size at all and do not contain any
font size control widgets, what makes you think they need them on your
page? They might, if you have set font-size: 75% or something; but then
you are to be blamed for creating a problem and then adding a pitiful
partial solution that creates new problems.

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