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


From: Austin, Darrel
Date: Jan 13, 2006 9:54AM

> > 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.

Yea, it is odd. Human's are odd. ;o)

I've worked on a few projects that have led me to the conclusion that
while 'help' is maybe a necessary part of the project, it's not going to
be used by a majority of the customers. One that comes to mind is a
database application for a niche market. We worked long and hard on
making a good interface (most of our customers say it's the best
interface amongst the competition). We spent a lot of time building a
robust help system. Clear labels. Still, people would call us/email us
asking questions that are already answered in the product itself. Then
we'd add 'tip of the day' and wizards and finally we added a 'help
center' that took people through most of the functions via wizards if
they wanted to. Still, we likely would have been better off just
spending our efforts on hiring another support staff ;o)

Everyone WANTS thorough documentation. Few use it. I'm guilty as much as
anyone. I'll search google before opening the manual most of the time.

> What is highly useful and needed is debatable.

I think we've proven that. ;o)

> 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 http://www.suomi.fi/suomi/ (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).

Sure, but poor designs doesn't mean the concept itself is bad. There's
poor built in browser text resizers as well.

Let's assume we're all talking about well designed font resizers.

> 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?

Let's clarify that. I certainly don't think they NEED the option. I'm
saying some folks will take advantate of the option.

My dad squints all the time using his computer. I, of course, show him
how to use better browsers, change his window's default fonts, etc, but
he quickly reverts back to just accepting the squinting method.

So, yea, he could still squint through my site, but maybe he'd see the
resizer, and maybe he'd use it, and maybe that'd make him feel better
about the user experience we provided.

> 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.

There's also the debate as to what size should web developers be
defaulting their web text sizes to. Unfortunately, there is no right
answer to that debate at this time.