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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    Browsers and font sizes

    Recently there's been some threads about sizing text with em rather than pixels.

    So that brings me to my questions: Which font size have you set your browser to use for regular fonts and for monospaced fonts? Please say which browser(s) and version you are using too.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    I use the default settings, since that's the ones people are most likely to be using. That way I see things the way the average visitor will see them.

    In Opera 9.52/Windows XP (at the office) this means 16px for regular fonts and 13px Courier New for monospaced.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  3. #3
    Design Your Site Team bronze trophy Erik J's Avatar
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    As a user: on WinXP I mainly use FF2 font-size 9px sometimes forced to Tahoma/Arial and Lucida Consol 9px. On Win2000 mostly Opera 9.5 font-size 12px (with a distance to the screen). The line-height matter also, and the font face size.

    (OT about em size; when styling fonts with em, I always use percent for font-size in the body font rule, due to IE font scaling em-factor, and integer for line-height for cross-browser consistency.)
    Happy ADD/ADHD with Asperger's

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    I use the default settings in Opera 9.51 and FF 3.0.1.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot topgrade's Avatar
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    Default Browser settings r always good but as usual 9pt (not px) Arial looks good for normal text.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    On my 22" wide monitor running at 1680x1050 I set my default font size to 20 pixels using Bitstream Vera Sans as a default sans-serif font.

    16px is barely readible to me, anything less unreadible.

    I am not a boomer - I am too old, being a 64 year old programmer and web developer. The boomers are getting older at the rate of one year per year, and there are a whole lot of them.
    Ed Seedhouse

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    On my 22" wide monitor running at 1680x1050 I set my default font size to 20 pixels using Bitstream Vera Sans as a default sans-serif font.

    16px is barely readible to me, anything less unreadible.

    I am not a boomer - I am too old, being a 64 year old programmer and web developer. The boomers are getting older at the rate of one year per year, and there are a whole lot of them.
    What's a boomer?

  8. #8
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Firefly View Post
    What's a boomer?
    A baby boomer.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    Thanks. And what do baby boomers have to do with this topic?

  10. #10
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    It means there are a lot more older people then young people using the web. If I understood correctly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    On my 22" wide monitor running at 1680x1050...
    My monitor will probably make your eyes bleed, 17" at 1920x1200 with a 96dpi, fonts way under 20 pixels.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Firefly View Post
    Thanks. And what do baby boomers have to do with this topic?
    There are many of them and they are now middle-aged, which is when one's eye-sight usually begins to worsen from hyperiopia. Thus there is a large and increasing group of people on the web who may need larger fonts than what eagle-eyed 20-year-old graphic designers are often using.

    In other words: beware of making the text on your websites too small!
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    Well that's not a fact unless someone comes up with recent statistics proving otherwise. Middle-aged people aren't the only ones with sight issues you know... and a lot of middle-aged people have reasonable sight.

    I have short-sight issues, and without my specs I may as well be as blind as a bat. I'm 26 years old. I use a 17" widescreen monitor left at native resolution and my browser default font size has been left at the default settings.

    I appreciate that a lot of people have sight issues, that's why I started this thread because I wanted a true picture of what font sizes are mostly used as a browser setting.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Firefly View Post
    Middle-aged people aren't the only ones with sight issues you know... and a lot of middle-aged people have reasonable sight.
    While that's perfectly true it is also missing the point. There are 90 year olds with excellent site, but the fact is that, by and large as people age their eyesite becomes worse, particulary at short distances.

    And it is also a demographic fact that there is a great big group of folks who were born shortly after WW2 that are now in their fifties and who, by and large, have worsening eyesite. These members of the "Post War Baby Boom" browse the web and being elder they also tend to have a fair whack of the available money.

    So if you want income from the web you would be wise pay attention to their needs.

    Fortunately html and CSS allow you to do this, while simultaneously and with no extra effort, catering to the preferences of young folks with great site as well. So why wouldn't you take the (very slight) time it takes to cater to all of them?
    Ed Seedhouse

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    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    ed, thanks for standing up for us boomers with poorer eyesight

    by the way, it's sight and eyesight, not site and eyesite
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    by the way, it's sight and eyesight, not site and eyesite
    If you read it and understood it, it's spelled well enough.
    Ed Seedhouse

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    If you read it and understood it, it's spelled well enough.
    Bad sites are ones that have the font sizes set to small for people to see. Your mis-spellings are confusing at best. It isn't spelt well enough when the word has a totally different meaning in the context of the discussion - which did you mean - web site or eye sight?
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Firefly View Post
    I appreciate that a lot of people have sight issues, that's why I started this thread because I wanted a true picture of what font sizes are mostly used as a browser setting.
    12px is the smallest I would set any size on the screen but the standard size is 16px. But you will never know what people have their browser set to. Some sites set theirs at 10px or less, not a bright idea, forcing some to resize their display. Even if you are smart enough to not do that, there are some who will still resize the text larger. My wife prefers not to wear reading glasses while using the computer and always has the font size set larger.

    So it's best, as others have said above, to just use the standard size, 16px, as your baseline.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    Thank you for derailing the thread Ed Seedhouse and Fellgall.

    For Ed Seedhouse - No, I'm not missing the point at all.

    As for spelling, I couldn't care less how he spells eyesight. Although, I suspect he did it deliberately to prove a point.

    Ed, You have no need to prove a point to me because I fully intend to cater for as many users as possible with regards to font sizing etc - it's just that ever since I realised that AdSense adverts broke my layout when the browser font size is set to 10px or below, I wondered which was truly the best font size to use as a starting point.

    It doesn't mean I'll pander to IE6 users though.

    To drhowarddrfine - I don't usually use px for font sizing. I'm trying to think in terms of proportion/relativity rather than in px. I'm aware that 16px is the default font size in most browsers, but things change and I want to see what people on SP use for their preferred font size setting in their browsers these days rather than relying on some old statistic that says that most people use 16px.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Firefly View Post
    To drhowarddrfine - I don't usually use px for font sizing.
    Neither do I.
    rather than relying on some old statistic that says that most people use 16px.
    The "statistic" is derived from the fact that all major browsers use 16px as the default font size and, as I said, that is what most of us base our font size on.


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