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View Poll Results: Do you take user's resizing their font in to account when designing a page?

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  • No, I never consider it

    9 60.00%
  • Yes, but I use pixel sizes to eliminate the problem in IE

    2 13.33%
  • Yes, but I tend not to worry if my site breaks at larger font sizes

    2 13.33%
  • Yes, and I take steps to ensure my design survives intact

    2 13.33%
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Do you take user's resizing their font in to account when designing a page?

    Mozilla/NS6/Gecko users can alter their font size by holding ctrl and hitting the + and - keys. IE users can resize the font with ctrl + mousewheel (provided you haven't set it to a fixed pixel size using CSS). This is great for visually impaired users, but it can cause havoc with your carefully designed site - table cells explode, divs overlap each other and often the page ends up completely unreadable.

    Do you take this in to account when designing a site? If so, what do you do about it?

  2. #2
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Bah, that should be users not user's

  3. #3
    Mlle. Ledoyen silver trophy seanf's Avatar
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    Sean
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    I do! :-D

    But I usually use something like a .8em setting for body text size, but that can make some text blurry and unreadable in these browsers when I use the smallest setting. :-(

    I only assume that the most people enlarge the text, and not shrink it, but I don't know that for sure. Not to lead this thread astray, but anyone have any more detail on that?

    ~~Ian

  5. #5
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Unfortunately some people do shrink text - two people at work frequently surf at a lower than normal text size (I don't qutie understand why as they also use high resolutions, they just seem to have really good eye sight). I've also noticed that IE6 on my PC keeps setting the text size to "smaller" seemingly of its own accord (I know it's not me doing it accidentally with the mouse wheel).

    I'm still trying to find the ideal way of setting a decent font size - at the moment I use font-size: small with the voice inherit hack to knock IE 5 in to line.

  6. #6
    Former Staff Member silver trophy Adam P.'s Avatar
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    I've always used pixels, but for the past couple weeks I've been questioning which I should use.

    I don't want my carefully planned and created design to be screwed up, so I tend to lean towards pixels. I read something not too long ago that Zeldman wrote about font sizes. He said to use pixels. Apparently some other browsers have a "Zoom Text" feature, or something like that. I guess it's different than IE's text-resize feature because it doesn't break-up the layout.

    But then there's usability and I always see smart-man skunk telling people to allow users to resize text.

    I'm still not sure which direction I want to go in, but for now I'm going with pixels.
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  7. #7
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Opera has "zoom text" - it resizes everything on the page (borders, images, the lot) rathre than just adjusting the text size. I don't like it much as it tends to make everything look pig ugly as you get bigger but at least the design doesnt' fall apart.

    One method I've been looking at recently to solve the text-resizing-breaks-layout problem is using ems for all of the dimensions on a site. Unliek pixels, ems resize themselves in proportion to the text size, so as you increase the size of the font the page scales up to match. I'm not sure how well they work across different browsers though.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot 19nine78's Avatar
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    In two minds myself about this, those that need resizable text will love me for it, those that don't know they can re-size the text will be indifferent and those who have their text size set to smallest but don't know how (or why) to change it will see microscopic text on my clients site...

    There are also the problems with relative sizes cascading into each other (try nested bulleted lists with ems or %'s ), the difficulty in getting the 'right' font size (0.8 too small, 0.9 too big) and so on.

    I don't care much for css hacks either...

    Now the optimist in me says that because I used a stylesheet, the user is free to disable or over-ride my settings with their own. If I'd used css for layout, even better, so I'm free to use pixels to my hearts content without being beaten down by the relative unit brigade.

    The pesimist in me says 'Aye, sure they will!'

    I think a fair bit of responsibility for this has to be landed at both the users and the browser feet. Users have to know that they can resize text and override setting to suit themselves. Browser have to push these factors and make it easier for users, how many non-IT people do you know who are aware they can re-size text on a[some] website[s]?? Very few I'd bet.

    Best compromise imho, if you've got a lot of text that you expect people to read on screen, use ems and accept any messing up of design. If not, use pixels and assume that users who *need* to resize text will be using Oopera.

    Or Mozilla.

    Or IE5 on a mac.

    Or NS6/7.

    Or something other than netscape 4 or IE/PC.

    Rant over,

    Thanks for listening

    cheers

    alastair

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Skunk
    One method I've been looking at recently to solve the text-resizing-breaks-layout problem is using ems for all of the dimensions on a site.
    I've always liked (or leiked ;-) to use percentages (or fixed flanking columns w/ stretchy main body) instead, since I prefer flexible pages.

    I guess it's all personal preference, but sometimes this design thing is harder than it looks. ;-)

    ~~Ian

  10. #10
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I use strictly defined font sizes for any non-content (links, lists, menu's, etc)
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  11. #11
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    I have just been through a similair thought and so used em throughout my style sheets - thinking that I was doing everyone a favour.

    I then was inundated with comments that the font was way too small to see.

    One of our travelling guys popped into an internet cafe and the text was way too small and they couldn't see anything.

    So I am now back to px and pt fixed sizes - purly because that way I am guranteeing that as many people can see my site as possible.

    I try and stick to a 10-12pt font which is easily readable by most (O hope )

    But ALL of my viewers use very old versions of NS and IE, IE4.01 in some cases
    Regular user

  12. #12
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aspen
    I use strictly defined font sizes for any non-content (links, lists, menu's, etc)
    This is what I do, too. However, what I'd REALLY like to see are some research on what users and how many users really use this feature.
    Mattias Johansson
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  13. #13
    ********* Genius zweistein's Avatar
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    I don't worry about it too much, but I did define my text size in pixels (I didn't think of this at all when I was designing my site)... But I think the site should be OK in larger and smaller sizes...
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru
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    I believe in relative sizing, but I use pixels. It's not because of worrying about the design being messed up in most cases. It's more often because of inheritance factors that I can't quite get a handle on. One thing that really puzzles me is why the old font sizes couldn't have been a part of CSS. They worked so well. They weren't relative, unless you wanted them to be, but they were resizable. What would be so terrible about having that be one of the ways to define a font size in CSS? It sometimes seems as though the people who created CSS actually wanted to build in new problems while they solved old ones.


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