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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot Luke Morton's Avatar
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    Changable fonts, sizes, page size

    Often people advocate they are accessibility compliant, many of which have a way of change the font on the page, or size of the fonts, or even perhaps the width of the page, all presumably for accessibility and usability reasons. Now I understand accessibility is far more than this, however I am wondering whether this is necessary at all. Surely modern web browser let you customize the websites, with zoom functionality, font styling, removal of style? The only exception I can think of at the moment is no browser can render a high contrast version of websites (I may be wrong?).

    Are all these extra features really an answer to accessibility? If so, how are they? Or are they simply gimmicks to conform to unfounded beliefs?
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  2. #2
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    Opera has "zoom" and "high contrast" options as well as many others.
    Firefox lets you "increase" and choose "no style".
    But if you use fixed font-size (eg. pixels) in IE (6 at least, 7 too?), the text size setting will have no effect - the page is not accessible.

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    Both Firefox 3 and IE7 have a page zoom feature where if you hold down Ctrl and use + and - to adjust the zoom level, the entire page is zoomed in by the same amount, pictures as well.
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    These 'change font' widgets on websites are probably used by people who don't master CSS very well, and create fixed-width layout with font size specified in pixels. Then they need these widgets to switch to another fixed-width layout with the font size specified as another pixel value.

    The widgets aren't necessary, any more than you need a 'Print' link, a 'Back' link, etc. These functions are built into the browsers and the user has a certain amount of responsibility to learn how to use his/her software.
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    SitePoint Zealot Luke Morton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    These 'change font' widgets on websites are probably used by people who don't master CSS very well, and create fixed-width layout with font size specified in pixels. Then they need these widgets to switch to another fixed-width layout with the font size specified as another pixel value.

    The widgets aren't necessary, any more than you need a 'Print' link, a 'Back' link, etc. These functions are built into the browsers and the user has a certain amount of responsibility to learn how to use his/her software.
    This is the point I was getting at
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    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Are all these extra features really an answer to accessibility? If so, how are they? Or are they simply gimmicks to conform to unfounded beliefs?
    If anything, they are anti-accessibility as they are a waste of space. Anybody who needs to put the font size up will know how to (if they don't already have it set bigger by default)

  7. #7
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    If we talk about accessibility, then giving users an option to increase the font-size using browser internal functions is just the second step.

    First step, is to make a web-site accessible right from the beginning.

    Take an average font-size for your main contents. Take a bigger text for your headings and menu. And try not to use small-sized text for the elements you think not important for users. I am absolutely sure anything could be done nicely using average-sized fonts. It just a matter of design and layout of information.

    Take a look at the copyright notice in the bottom of Sitepoint. It's small. Why? There is enough room to make it normal size. It would take the same one text line, just a bit wider. So, making it so small makes no sense.

    Just consider two simple cases:
    • If we'd have average-sized text everywhere, no one would be disturbed.
    • If we'll decrease size somewhere, some people could feel uncomfortable with it.


    It's just my opinion. I'm not blind, I can clearly see all sizes when I'm on standard display.

  8. #8
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    If we'd have average-sized text everywhere, no one would be disturbed.
    Well, except those who cannot see average-sized text : ) Though you make a good point-- make it readable in the first place, then let people enlarge to their liking if needed.

    There is an accessibility thing I am thinking of adding to a few sites-- I really like light text on dark backgrounds, looks like a terminal and is easier on my eyes. However there seem to be an equal number of people who get headaches from this. So on my dark sites, I'm adding a "light" css people can choose. I've seen this on Mike Cherim's dark sites and I like the idea. I get to keep my dark. Visitors can choose the light. Currently I think only Opera users can change the contrast-- I cannot make much use of that as Opera users constitute like .0000015% of my userbase? Which is too bad, but true.

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    A lot of my customers in the public sector want the site to have their text resizable using browser options, and an option on the site itself. A good example would be the East Sussex Disability Association website.

    Although the former methd is acceptable, they have to be seen to be doing everything that can to make their website accessible.

    I hope this helps :-)

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot Wynnefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedek View Post
    Take a look at the copyright notice in the bottom of Sitepoint. It's small. Why? There is enough room to make it normal size. It would take the same one text line, just a bit wider. So, making it so small makes no sense.
    I believe the concepts I would use to explain this are "relevance", or importance related to the other text/content on the page, and/or "contrast", e.g. large vs. small.


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