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From: Donna Jones
Date: Sat, Oct 09 2010 11:03AM
Subject: using pixels for text
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hi everyone: what's the latest for using pixels to size text. i'm
doing some work for someone and she wants me to use pixels and i really
feel adverse to it - rather use "em" or "%". the only downside i can
see is that the font size can't be increased using IE (but most people
would use zoom anyway).

i "think" that pixels have been redeemed lately regarding accessibility,
but i don't know the details. any information, or links, appreciated.

best
Donna Jones

From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Sat, Oct 09 2010 11:18AM
Subject: Re: using pixels for text
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Donna Jones wrote:

> what's the latest for using pixels to size text.

It's still "don't". The pixel is still a physical unit, of varying size, and
pixel-sized text that looks OK (to someone) on some screen looks awfully
tiny on another screen, or the same screen with different monitor
resolution. Moreover, it's a size that is _supposed_ to be constant, with
these properties, _not_ affected by normal user choices. That's why it is
bad (in an author stylesheet).

> the only
> downside i can see is that the font size can't be increased using IE

This is one area where IE surprisingly gets things by the spec. If the
author says font-size: 9px, it _means_ 9 pixels. Anyway, the downsize is
important enough (even though the font size _can_ be increased using IE -
but using tools that most users never heard of).

> (but most people would use zoom anyway).

Would they? They wouldn't if they were using an old browser that lacks
zooming, and they wouldn't if they don't know about zooming, as many people
don't. People with serious sight impairment can be expected to have found a
way around pixel sizes (which are common), but what about the billion or two
billion people with _minor_ sight impairment?

On IE, zooming applies to the page as a whole - it's like using a magnifying
glass. And that's why it often more or less breaks the browsing experience,
forcing horizontal scrollbars and other annoyances.

Using pixels to size text is bad, as it always was, but not among the worst
things you can do to reduce accessibility. Users have workarounds, but they
are clumsy and come with drawbacks.

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

From: Nathalie Sequeira
Date: Sun, Oct 10 2010 12:42AM
Subject: Re: using pixels for text
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Hi Donna,

> i'm
> doing some work for someone and she wants me to use pixels and i really
> feel adverse to it - rather use "em" or "%".
What came to mind first thing when I read this was how you can explain
that the use of relative font sizes is an important asset of a quality
website.
Not knowing what part of the world you're in (and legal requirements
being, AFAIK, not so extremely binding anywhere...), I remembered an old
but still true article that lists economic arguments for accessibility:

http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/sell-web-accessibility
You may want to check the statistics for your country and plug in where
the author uses UK stats.
These arguments usually help my clients realize they're shooting
themselves in the leg if they choose to ignore accessibility aspects :)

Good luck!
Nathalie

From: adam solomon
Date: Sun, Oct 10 2010 1:24AM
Subject: Re: using pixels for text
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The latest wcag draft which is going to be approved in the coming days lists
a number of sufficient techniques which can be used to achieve success in
accessible text as far as resizing is concerned. One of those techniques is
using a technology that has commonly available user agents which support
zoom. My understanding of this is that if you are speaking of an internet
site, then you are not required to use em since there are commonly available
browsers which support zoom. Having said this, it would be nice to add em
support so that ie6 users, as well as those who prefer the resize text
browser function, would also be able to increase the text size.

On Sat, Oct 9, 2010 at 7:03 PM, Donna Jones < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> hi everyone: what's the latest for using pixels to size text. i'm
> doing some work for someone and she wants me to use pixels and i really
> feel adverse to it - rather use "em" or "%". the only downside i can
> see is that the font size can't be increased using IE (but most people
> would use zoom anyway).
>
> i "think" that pixels have been redeemed lately regarding accessibility,
> but i don't know the details. any information, or links, appreciated.
>
> best
> Donna Jones
>

From: William Lawrence
Date: Tue, Oct 12 2010 8:24AM
Subject: Re: using pixels for text
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No pixel is an island.

The rule of thumb I used to follow was to set base font with one unit
and use another in the cascade, e.g. % or EM on the BODY and/or HTML
selector, and then pixels everywhere else, or verse vices.

Although pixels are absolute, they are relative.

Further reading: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/howtosizetextincss/

Cheers!
William



On Sat, Oct 9, 2010 at 1:03 PM, Donna Jones < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> hi everyone:  what's the latest for using pixels to size text.  i'm
> doing some work for someone and she wants me to use pixels and i really
> feel adverse to it - rather use "em" or "%".  the only downside i can
> see is that the font size can't be increased using IE (but most people
> would use zoom anyway).
>
> i "think" that pixels have been redeemed lately regarding accessibility,
> but i don't know the details.  any information, or links, appreciated.
>
> best
> Donna Jones
>