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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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Joe Clark <[log in to unmask]>
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Joe Clark <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 21 Jun 2005 13:32:35 +0000
TEXT/PLAIN (66 lines)
>> People think that, but they're wrong, of course. Varying pixel densities 
>> on monitors ensure that your carefully-selected 12px font looks quite 
>> different on different screens.
> Joe, read what I wrote. I never said they look exactly the same, I said it's 
> the most reliable method for ensuring it's consistent as possible across 
> platforms and browsers.

I did read what you wrote, and it's incorrect. You may have achieved fonts 
that are precisely 12 pixels high in every CSS-aware browser, but since 
the pixels themselves are smaller or larger on different systems, the 
appearance isn't consistent at all, undermining the entire case.

> Simply ignoring the rest of the em argument, which is that you're spec'ing a 
> percentage based on a shot in the dark. I never said they don't work. I said 
> they are the least reliable method for ensuring consistent layout across 
> browsers and platforms. You really haven't said anything here that disputes 
> that.

I'm saying that px alternatives have been well tested even if that may be 
news to you.

> Um, well, I don't know when the last time you sampled your user base, but in 
> the real world, IE still owns around 70-85% of the market, followed by 
> browsers like Netscape, Mozilla, Safari, and Firefox. Netscape, Firefox, and 
> Mozilla are all Mozilla (Netscape) derivatives.

Your mileage my vary. I get only 13% IE/Win hits and almost none from 
"Netscape," a company and a browser that have faded into obsolescence.

> This discussion isn't about "making it work" it's about providing an optimal 
> experience.

For a user who resets his or her font size, the definition of "optimal" 
has changed. This isn't print design and your work on the Web has to be 
malleable to accommodate the invariable truth that the user has final say 
over appearance.

> That leaves us with pixel based design (it's a pixel world, Joe)

Yours may be. I don't know of any standards-compliant Web designers who do 
a lot of work in the px unit for font sizing, because they are educated 
enough to know it doesn't work as intended (i.e., it doesn't create an 
identical [your euphemism, "optimal"] appearance in browsers). All Web 
sites may resolve to pixels, even when printed out, but that's a rather 
separate issue.

> and a style switcher. That is the optimal solution.

Uh-huh. That's why I suggested zoom layouts at the outset for giant fonts.


     Joe Clark | [log in to unmask]
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