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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    And Tommy, it is possible that he could be using the H1 (along with an empty SPAN) to serve the logo; even today I see a lot of designers mistakenly doing that. Especially in WordPress Themes.
    My question is still the same: why does the H2 have to be exactly 28px? Isn't the important thing that the heading is larger than the body text so that it's easily recognised as a heading? If so, a font size of 2em or 200% ought to be just as useful, even though it might be 26px for some users and 40px for others, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by ewwatson View Post
    So "if" that's the case, and you, meaning "I", realizes that it doesn't always equal 10px, then all 62.5% is is a different way to size things. Right?
    That's right. It's no different from my suggestion of using the desired percentage directly, except that you're making things more complicated for yourself. You'll have to enlarge virtually everything, since 10px is too small to read for most people, and that gets you in trouble with nested elements.

    It's neither better nor worse than my suggestion, only more complicated.
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  2. #52
    SitePoint Enthusiast AnalogPanda's Avatar
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    I can't prove it, but I'm fairly sure that there are a lot more users who haven't changed their browser default settings for font size than there are those who have.
    I'd agree. Which would mean that most users are starting at 16px.

    I recommend that you read all the posts in this thread.
    I did, thanks. I recommend you not assume I didn't.

    Jumping in and posting without reading what others have said is rather rude, don't you think?
    Yes, that's why I didn't. Rather rude of you to assume otherwise, don't you think?

    The myth that 62.5% makes 1em equal 10px has been debunked in the preceding posts.
    True, but along with it, 75% = 12px and 81.25% = 13px are equally as debunked.
    And by "debunked" you mean that 62.5% can in some cases not equal 10px.
    I understand the logic behind saying that 62.5% does not make 1em equal 10px. But that same logic must be applied to any other percentage value applied to the body element's font-size property.

    At the end of the day, we're all better off using flexible units instead of pixels, but the various percentage-based techniques are all equally susceptible to the minority of users who override the base font size. If done right, the typography will all scale proportionately - which is what I think we're all trying to achieve here.

    To be clear, nobody ever claimed that 10px is an acceptable font size. Just that '10' is an easy base multiplier to work with. After setting the body element to 62.5%, I set the P element (among others) to something more sane like 1.3 or 1.4em. It's nice to glance at 1.4em and know that it means 14px in most cases.

    16px * 81.25% = 13px
    (16px * 62.5%) * 1.3em = 13px
    if the user sets a different base font size, the end result is still the same:
    24px * 81.25% = 19.5px
    (24px * 62.5%) * 1.3em = 19.5px

    Also, it seems this discussion has spilled over into layout as these types of discussions usually do. It's probably good that a pro-62.5% individual like myself clear the air and state that I agree that even when the base font is 16px and you set the body element to 62.5% font-size, then an EM is not 10 pixels wide, but it is 10 pixels tall. For that reason I use pixels when I need precise widths, and pixels or EMs for height depending on the situation.

    And why do you need to make a second-level heading exactly 28px?
    Because my job as a CSS developer is to implement the design that the client has signed-off on.

    Isn't it enough that it's a certain factor larger than the body copy?
    It is a certain factor larger than the body copy. I just arrive at that certain factor like this: (base * 62.5%) * 2.8em
    And the body copy like this: (base * 62.5%) * 1.4em

    It really seems like there are 2 camps doing essentially the same

    it is possible that he could be using the H1 (along with an empty SPAN) to serve the logo; even today I see a lot of designers mistakenly doing that. Especially in WordPress Themes.
    Nice cheap shot. But let's stay on topic.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    I'd agree. Which would mean that most users are starting at 16px.
    Yes, unless they've accidentally rolled the scrollwheel while depressing the Ctrl key, etc. I've seen that happen numerous times, and non-techie users often don't understand why every website suddely has huge (or microscopic) text.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    I did, thanks. I recommend you not assume I didn't.
    If you read the posts, how can you then make a statement that claims that 62.5% makes 1em equal to 10px? Did you not understand the posts you read, or did you simply decide to ignore the evidence provided therein because you didn't like it? I think it was a fair assumption that you hadn't read them, since you made such a statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    True, but along with it, 75% = 12px and 81.25% = 13px are equally as debunked.
    As far as I know, no one has state that 81.25% equals 13px. I said I use it because it will make the text size 13px for most users, but I would never assume that 1em = 13px. I don't use pixels for container dimensions, so I don't need to make that type of assumptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    And by "debunked" you mean that 62.5% can in some cases not equal 10px.
    No, it means 62.5% does not make 1em equal to 10px. Ever. 62.5% can make the base font size be 10px in some cases (or probably most cases, but not all). But it doesn't create an equality between em and px anymore than it creates an equality between apples and oranges.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    I understand the logic behind saying that 62.5% does not make 1em equal 10px. But that same logic must be applied to any other percentage value applied to the body element's font-size property.
    Yes, that's correct. But the only ones I've heard claim that 1em equals a certain number of pixels are those who use 62.5%.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    To be clear, nobody ever claimed that 10px is an acceptable font size. Just that '10' is an easy base multiplier to work with.
    Why do you need a multiplier? That indicates that you still believe that ems can be 'converted' to pixels, which is false. I've seen people use 62.5% to get 10px font size and then specify a container width as 250px. Why not use 25em? Not only does it avoid multiplication altogether, it will also prevent the text from reflowing when the user changes the font size. And it will prevent unbreakable text from overflowing its container at the large text sizes some users need.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    After setting the body element to 62.5%, I set the P element (among others) to something more sane like 1.3 or 1.4em. It's nice to glance at 1.4em and know that it means 14px in most cases.
    I honestly cannot comprehend why that would be interesting, but if it works for you, then use it. Just remember to add extra CSS rules that cover all the possible element nesting situations. I personally think it's far easier to set the 'right' font size from the start and not have to worry about nesting. But that's me.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    16px * 81.25% = 13px
    (16px * 62.5%) * 1.3em = 13px
    if the user sets a different base font size, the end result is still the same:
    24px * 81.25% = 19.5px
    (24px * 62.5%) * 1.3em = 19.5px
    Unless you nest one of those elements inside another. Then the simple solution will still yield text that is 1.3 times the base size, while your extra complicated solution will cause the text to be 1.3 * 1.3 = 1.69 times the base size.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    It's probably good that a pro-62.5% individual like myself clear the air and state that I agree that even when the base font is 16px and you set the body element to 62.5% font-size, then an EM is not 10 pixels wide, but it is 10 pixels tall.
    I'm sorry, but that's utter rubbish. An em is defined in CSS as being the same as the element's font size – in both directions. If the font size is 10px, then 1em is 10px wide and 10px high. It doesn't mean that every character is 10px wide, though, unless you use a monospaced font.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    For that reason I use pixels when I need precise widths, and pixels or EMs for height depending on the situation.
    Those 'precise' widths will fall apart when you're 16px-base font assumption doesn't hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    Because my job as a CSS developer is to implement the design that the client has signed-off on.
    No, your job as a CSS developer is to explain to the client that web design is very different from print design and that he or she cannot expect any degree of control. On the web, control is in the hands of the users, where it belongs.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogPanda View Post
    It is a certain factor larger than the body copy. I just arrive at that certain factor like this: (base * 62.5%) * 2.8em
    That doesn't make it 28px, except in the special case (common, but still a special case) where the base font size is 16px.

    In this case I'd set the base font to 87.5% to get 14px base text for most users, and then set the H2 size to 2em. There is no difference between my method and yours from a user's point of view, nor from the client's point of view. The H2 may or may not be 28px. The only difference is that you have to add extra CSS rules to cover element nesting issues, while I don't.

    Like I've said before (as I'm sure, since you've read all the previous posts) I don't say that your method is 'wrong'. I just find it unnecessarily complicated, and I think that simplicity is desirable.
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  4. #54
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    AnalogPanda, that wasn't a cheap shot. I was actually trying to stick up for you. Nobody here (that I know of) is a psychic (though my friends say I can act like one at times, especially when it comes to major events and my own gut instinct being right so many times it can be downright scary), so I figured I'd play devil's advocate on the off-chance that Tommy was wrong.

  5. #55
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    tommy is never wrong

    tommy, i agree with you, simplicity is desirable

    could you please run through the implications of my strategy -- leave the font size unspecified

    what is the base font size then? and what happens to nested sizes? what happens if the user changes font size? how do widths behave if no mention was made of font sizes?

    i think you will of course agree that no css at all is the simplest css, yes?
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    could you please run through the implications of my strategy -- leave the font size unspecified

    what is the base font size then? and what happens to nested sizes? what happens if the user changes font size? how do widths behave if no mention was made of font sizes?
    The base font is exactly what the user has specified, or, more likely, what the browser uses by default. If the user changes the font size, the text will change in all browsers (including IE). Nested sizes won't be a problem. It's virtually the same as specifying 100% as the base size. The only difference is if you then have font sizes like 0.9em somewhere (like a footer). That may cause problems in IE.

    The main implication of your strategy is probably that a lot of users will find your site ungainly with too-large text (depeding on which font face you choose, if any). Since many of them won't know how to change the font size, chances are they will leave and look for a competitor with an in their eyes more aesthetically pleasing site.

    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    i think you will of course agree that no css at all is the simplest css, yes?
    Indeed. But there's the technical drawback of sub-em sizes in IE and the aesthetic drawback of browser default sizes being unattractively large for a majority of users. It depends, though. I'm using Georgia at 100% on my blog, and no one has complained that it's too big. Verdana, on the other hand, gets a bit grotesque at that size (pardon the pun).
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  7. #57
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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    Great thread guys!
    75%-100% is basically in my "OPINION" the best route for keeping css bloat down. Think of it like this:
    CMS - The client wants an unordered list and you have your font set to 62.5%. What is the outcome? - tiny font - which equals an extra class to indicate the element.
    Also, you might say well I could set ul { font-size: 1.2em; } or w/e but, that would cause a lot of issues with inheritance.

  8. #58
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karpie View Post
    Wait, what's wrong with Verdana? I think it's a great font and it gets used on a lot of the sites I code...
    It's difficult to know where to start ... because in many ways, Verdana is a great font. It's very clear and easy to read, even at small sizes, because of its large x-height and wide spacing.

    Where it gets messy is because you can't guarantee that everyone reading your website has Verdana installed.

    If you use Verdana as the first font choice on your website, you'll probably choose to set the size slightly smaller than if you had used, say, Arial. But then someone looking at your site on a machine without Verdana might see the text in Helvetica, which would be then be too small.

    It's a relatively minor problem, given that the vast majority of users do have Verdana installed, and the vast majority of those that don't will be able to enlarge the text (if they need to) - if you do want to use Verdana, it is worth setting it just a smidgen larger than you might otherwise have done, to accommodate people who are not using it.

  9. #59
    SitePoint Evangelist Karpie's Avatar
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    Ah, good point, I'd forgotten that Verdana is bigger

    And I only realized that it's a Windows-only font just recently - after installing Ubuntu on my laptop, going to one of the older sites I'd coded, and wondering why it didn't look right! (Had only specified Verdana with no other fallbacks... not very smart of me...)

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewwatson View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I see that none of you guys do it this way so I thought I'd add my two cents in order to give another opinion. This is the way I do it - the 62.5% way. It's clean and easy to understand - that's why I use this method.

    The fact remains that you have to give the base font size a percent value or key words to prevent the IE bug. So if that's the case, then why not give it a 62.5% instead of 75% or 81.25% in order to make things a little easier. But that's just me - everyones brain works differently. Which ever method is the easiest for "you" to wrap your brain around is the one that you should use. All the methods explained here in this thread are solid.

    body {
    height: 100%; /* helps make height 100% */
    font: 62.5%/1.5 Tahoma, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; /* 62.5% makes font-size 1em = 10px, 1.2em = 12px, etc */
    background-color: #FDFDFD;
    color: #333;
    }
    /* ------------------ Typography ------------------- */
    h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, pre, blockquote, address {
    margin: 0 0 1em;
    }
    h1 {
    font-size: 2.2em;
    }
    h2 {
    font-size: 2em;
    }
    h3 {
    font-size: 1.8em;
    }
    h4 {
    font-size: 1.6em;
    }
    h5 {
    font-size: 1.4em;
    }
    h6 {
    font-size: 1.2em;
    }
    p, ul {
    font-size: 1.2em;
    }
    ul {
    margin: 0 0 1em 25px;
    list-style: none;
    }
    ul ul { /* fixes nested lists */
    font-size: 100%;
    font-weight: normal;
    }
    great tip! i really like this. seems to make great to me as well. thanks!

  11. #61
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy PicnicTutorials's Avatar
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    Am I going crazy? I was doing some Googleing because I want to change my typograhy section in my default CSS and I came across this at 24 ways.

    http://24ways.org/2006/compose-to-a-vertical-rhythm

    He suggests setting it up like so

    body {
    font-size: 75%;
    }

    html>body {
    font-size: 12px;
    }

    p {
    line-height 1.5em;
    }

    in short this is what got me
    There are many ways to size text in CSS and the above approach provides and accessible method of achieving the pixel-precision solid typography requires. By way of explanation, the first font-size reduces the body text from the 16px default (common to most browsers and OS set-ups) down to the 12px we require. This rule is primarily there for Internet Explorer 6 and below on Windows: the percentage value means that the text will scale predictably should a user bump the text size up or down. The second font-size sets the text size specifically and is ignored by IE6, but used by Firefox, Safari, IE7, Opera and other modern browsers which allow users to resize text sized in pixels.
    What? So I had to test it and of course IE7 does not increase it's text size. Am I missing something?

  12. #62
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    What? So I had to test it and of course IE7 does not increase it's text size. Am I missing something?
    No, IE7 does not resize text when sized in pixels which is why the method I gave earlier is better than this method (but still suffers from the fact that the users preferences are somewhat ignored).

    IE7 just added a zoom function but did not fix the pixel issue.

  13. #63
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    Opera doesn't resize text either. Not in the sense that Firefox 2 and IE6 do. Instead it zooms the entire page, a feature that Firefox 3 and IE7 have copied.
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  14. #64
    SitePoint Zealot MacRankin's Avatar
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    If all browsers were to zoom in and out like Opera and IE7 do, wouldn't that give total control to the developer and to our visitors?

    When I re-size my website, err, which I haven't updated in years, I can only re-size my text no more than 2 times before some for my site elements goes pear-shaped, but when I use zoom (with Opera 9.06, that is), I can increase my text, images, and layout by almost 8 times before it all goes to pot.

    Wouldn't it be great if we could just dump text re-sizing for zooming. Or is there a reason why we shouldn't go down that road?
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  15. #65
    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    feature that Firefox 3 and IE7 have copied.
    Regrettably. Horizontal scrolling = straight onto the back button.

  16. #66
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    If all browsers were to zoom in and out like Opera and IE7 do, wouldn't that give total control to the developer and to our visitors?
    I like getting my text large enough to read (damn those developers who love the "professional look" of 9px-sized fonts!! Die!) without making the whole freakin page big.

    It's another reason I don't default surf with Opera most of the time. I don't like zoom. I don't like images zooming, I don't like layouts zooming, I just want the text to be readable!!!! Is that so hard to ask? Large text, normal designs?

    But that's me. I am forced to use FF3 now that Ubuntu keeps freakin updating my FF2 (I keep trying to have two versions but this is for some unknown reason unreasonably difficult) and I always check the zoom over to Text Only (yes thank teh gawds it has that option).

    Re VERDANA:
    Not sure why everyone hates this font. It is the ONLY sane popular sans-serif out there. For one extremely very good reason!!!

    I (EYE) is not the same as l (ELL).

    Eye is not ell and ell is not eye but gebus crises you wouldn't know it from the popular sans-serif fonts!! Who's bloody great idea was that anyway?????

    Long Live Verdana! (or any sans-serif font that makes ALL it's letters readable and distinct from each other). At least that silly Droid font does it the right way-- little dingies at the tops and bottoms of the EYEs.

    And, even though it fixes some IE bug with resizing, I still don't set a font size in the body. Seriously, Verdana might be ugly (yet oh so wonderfully readable), but I'll take Ugly over Unreadably Small any day, and so will computer users. I will not reduce people's font sizes-- if they go nuts like Ed and want it 20px high, they got it. Grandma can read every one of my sites, and my boss even remarked that his mom liked that our sites have these big ugly fonts in them-- she was surprised she didn't have to fumble with her browser (IE7 on Vista I think). I'm as against font-size: 62.5% as font-size: 95%. Like hippies, they should be natural (and smell a bit).

    They didn't go online to admire the typography (a pity). They came to read the content. I have no reason to go around making everyone's fonts too times too small because someone can read 13px or 9px or whatever. default=100%, at least outside of Redmond, so I set fonts as I need them-- on this element, that element, whatever.

    Regrettably. Horizontal scrolling = straight onto the back button.
    Lawls, you'd hate my next site. It is purely horizontal. Yay!

  17. #67
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    I like getting my text large enough to read (damn those developers who love the "professional look" of 9px-sized fonts!! Die!) without making the whole freakin page big.

  18. #68
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Re VERDANA:
    Not sure why everyone hates this font. It is the ONLY sane popular sans-serif out there. For one extremely very good reason!!!
    I don't hate it, I just think it's a bad font to put in a font-family. If you set your browser to use verdana, on the other hand, the site should honor your preference and allow that.

    Putting verdana in a font-family in CSS is a bad thing, allowing the visitor to see verdana if that is their preference is a good thing. In my opinion.
    Ed Seedhouse

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    SitePoint Zealot MacRankin's Avatar
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    I like verdana too, but I have heard from some folks that it doesn't always look good in smaller sizes, I think?

    I'm disappointed that not all are convinced that zooming helps. It would have been nice to cater to everyone's preferences. Perhaps, re-sizing text should then co-habit with zooming.

    There's a lot of things I am aware of, but more of things I don't fully understand, and text is one of them, along with fonts and whatever.

    I thought I had once bought the perfect book on 'flexible text', though, I didn't buy Dan Cederholm's, 'Bulletproof Web Designs' book for this reason alone. Some times I simply like to 'shore up' references close to hand, and it was just an accident, you could say, that I thought this whole thing about text re-sizing must have been buried long ago. Seems I was wrong.

    Someone mentioned earlier that he uses 62.5% as his base font size, but that is not true. He simply uses an 'absolute-sized keyword' in the body element, or rather the body selector, and this is what one applies higher or lower sized percentage, and or ems to.

    The absolute-sized keyword that he uses is 'small', mostly because (I think?) stepping up or down incrementally doesn't produce extremes in font sizes.

    Of course, you must be all aware of his method, and because of this I must assume that it isn't bulletproof.

    All I want to do is to make something that looks appealing to me, while at the same time make it appealing to others who's sight isn't so good. But, I'm not a guru. There is always going to be so much I'm am going to absorb. It's not because I don't care. It's more like I just can't move forwards when I'm hampered with all these problems of text, multi-level lists, footers, and God know's what else I'm expected to learn before I can get things done.
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  20. #70
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacRankin View Post
    I like verdana too, but I have heard from some folks that it doesn't always look good in smaller sizes, I think?
    That's not the problem with verdana at all. The problem is that it is purposely designed to look larger for it's em height than other more widely used fonts. So people who design a page while looking at it as their screen font get a wrong idea about how their site will look to folks who don't have it. These are often the same people who tend to set their font sizes in pixels. So they write a page that uses 12 pixel verdana and think it looks nice, but someone who doesn't have verdana installed will see it a lot smaller and find it hard to read, especially if they are getting a little on in their years.

    I'm disappointed that not all are convinced that zooming helps. It would have been nice to cater to everyone's preferences. Perhaps, re-sizing text should then co-habit with zooming.
    Zooming or resizing fonts, they both demand effort from the visitor. Assuming they even know how to do that on their browser. And it requires more effort than hitting the old back button and selecting a link from google where the designers respect the visitors needs better. So what do you think your visitors will do? Is your business plan so robust that you can afford to annoy possible revenue sources and drive them away?
    Ed Seedhouse

  21. #71
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Yeah Verdana initially caused me some problems when building my earlier horizontal drop-down menus... (a bad idea in the first place as they forced the page to be at least 1024 px wide and I haven't made this mistake since)... with Verdana on teh Windows machine and the default sans-serif of Unix on my laptop, there was quite a large difference-- so yes, if you're including Verdana with your sans-serifs, or Georgia with your serifs, check your other backups you've set, and how they appear on the screen. Georgia also has a bigger x-height than it's popular replacement, Times New Roman (and I like Georgia better, though sometimes the numbers get a bit too fancy when they are large and bold, and they drop below the baseline).

    So more like, web developers should be checking their pages at various resolutions, fonts, colours (I got a nasty old CRT from a friend which is geat) etc.... testing is just part of good web development.

    <small>Long live Verdana.</small>

    It would have been nice to cater to everyone's preferences. Perhaps, re-sizing text should then co-habit with zooming.
    FF3 does this actually. While I'm overall not too happy with FF3 over FF2, this part they got right I think... though I guess they corrected FF's rounding errors? Cause it doesn't text-resize exactly the same as FF2 did. FF2 would take all the little pieces of pixels, everything under 1, and add them up as the page was rendered from top to bottom, and add all those decimals at the bottom. Which I've never really noticed too much, but I think ewwatson has on a thread around here, and there's a crusty on another forum who was always ranting about it. (rolley eyes).

    So I can even use the same controls for either text-resizing or zoom, depending on what I'd set it for.

    Initially I was all like, hey zoom is awesome, no more need to make thing flexible, layouts don't break! But zoom is just different than text-enlargement, which only enlarges text, and I just no longer like seeing the whole entire site enlarged just to read fine print.


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