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Thread: New to CSS

  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast Bobf's Avatar
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    New to CSS

    Can anyone answer this for me:

    If I set page fonts ( type & size ) in a CSS will the Broweser Text Size settings override them.

    The reason I am asking is that my Browser has its text settings to "Medium" (IE5.5) whatever that is, and I was wondering if when I view my site designs (which the CSS sets the fonts to Ariel 12 ) what I am I seeing in the Browser view is exactly what I specified in the CSS.

    Do you see my point?

    If the Browser setting do over-ride the CSS file how can I fix it so I see what it looks like from the CSS.

    Regards

    Bobf

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Mincer's Avatar
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    The css should take precedence over the browser defaults. The browser defaults are for pages that have no type specified.

    Matt.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast Bobf's Avatar
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    Thanks Matt

    Bobf

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    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Actually, using absolute sizes will stop the browser from being able to resize (with it's larger/smaller button)

    px, pt, cm, in

    And relational sizes WILL allow the browser resizing.

    em, ex, %
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy blufive's Avatar
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    using absolute sizes will stop the browser from being able to resize [...]And relational sizes WILL allow the browser resizing.
    True for IE, but not necessarily for other browsers. Gecko-based browsers, for instance, will let you resize regardless. Given the problems that fixed-size text can cause for those with vision problems, I regard IE's behaviour as a bug.

  6. #6
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Bug? That's an odd interpretation.

    Basically you are saying it's OK for the browser to re-size pixels, points, inches and centimeters at it's own will. I'm sorry, but that is just wrong. If I specify type at 20px, there is a reason, and the browser should do it no matter what. If I didn't need it to be that specific a size, I would have used ems or exs.

    Designing for the blind is not something required of all websites. It is the responsiblity of the designer to make the site accessible, NOT the browser.

    Sorry, I just don't agree. We have the choice for a reason.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  7. #7
    morphine for a wooden leg randem's Avatar
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    Originally posted by beetle
    Sorry, I just don't agree. We have the choice for a reason.
    I have to agree. Although I'm strongly against the the use of fixed-size type, I do feel that it is the job of a responsible developer to know the difference and select the appropriate unit accordingly.
    ----Adopt-a-Sig----
    Your message here!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy blufive's Avatar
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    If I specify type at 20px, there is a reason, and the browser should do it no matter what.
    If you've specified a fixed text size which is too small for me to read, you're saying that I shouldn't be able to read the page, period, just because you don't want your layout messed up. Thanks a lot.
    It is the responsiblity of the designer to make the site accessible, NOT the browser.
    Why not? If the designer can't be bothered, why shouldn't the browser do what it can to make things easier for people who need such assistance?

    Browsers are a tool for the person using them, not the people who design web pages. If a page has teeny-tiny text, I want my browser to be able to resize it. No ifs, no buts.

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    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    I understand you concerns, blufive, but I think you are missing the bigger picture and underlying problem/;,.. But, that doesn't change the fact that the browser has NO right to modify the layout of a page unless the developer allows. But, because Gecko does it regardless, the result is akin to a form of censorship.

    Any responsible developer wouldn't make his site with 8px type, especially if he knew that he may need to accomodate accessibility. But, the problem with that, and why Gecko does what it does is the same reasons Pre-Gecko versions of NS and almost all version of IE accept tag-soup code. Browsers are still fighting for the scraps, and to do that they need little tricks and hacks, like "Netscape 7 will ALWAYS let you resize text, so it's the browser of choice for those with disabilities" That's like saying, "IE will render ANY webpage, regardless of how poor it's markup is, so you can see more of the web as it was intended, so IT is the browser of choice" Now, we ALL know what kind of mess that mentality has gotten us into.

    So, perhaps if Person A designs a site that is difficult to see for Customer B, then perhaps Customer B will complain to Company C whom hired Person A to make the site. Then, perhaps, Person A will no longer be making web pages for a living and thus, in turn, make it easier for all of us that know what we are doing.

    I was one of the unfortunate individuals who lost his job during the dot-com bust. Recovering from that has been harder than it should be. Why? Because I have to compete with John Q Customer's brother-in-law who has Frontpage and has made a couple hobby sites. Personally, I'd like to see business-related web design/development be a business that comes back to the professionals, and away from the hobbyists.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by beetle
    But, that doesn't change the fact that the browser has NO right to modify the layout of a page unless the developer allows. But, because Gecko does it regardless, the result is akin to a form of censorship.
    wooow doggy. Its not the browser that has the right. Its the USER that controls the browser and they have every right to change the text size that there browser displays.

    Originally posted by beetle
    Because I have to compete with John Q Customer's brother-in-law who has Frontpage and has made a couple hobby sites. Personally, I'd like to see business-related web design/development be a business that comes back to the professionals, and away from the hobbyists.
    hahaha yer, okay make your point by insulting 80% of the people at SitePoint. That's sure to help you

    now i will leave you with 2 quotes, and 2 links.
    I'm hereby launching a campaign to get Microsoft to make user preferences override any fixed font size specification in Web designs.
    It may be okay for the browser to initially render the page with the designer's text size, but users should be able to easily enlarge text, no matter what the style sheet says. After all, it's my screen, my computer, and my software, and they should do what I say.
    quote by Nielsen in his Alertbox Let Users Control Font Size.

    Ignorant designers use pixels because they don’t know or care about accessibility issues. Knowledgeable designers use pixels because other units often fail for complex reasons. Accessible workarounds help, but they fail for some users and many designers won’t bother trying. Pixels are here to stay. Users should not be penalized. That was the simple case we made.
    Quote by Jeffrey Zeldman 19th of August 2002.

  11. #11
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Wow, I didn't realize this topic could be such a good debate. You make some good points iTec.

    First off, let me say sorry to those that feel I've insulted them, but I'm struggling to see where the insult is. I have nothing against the pursuit of knowledge, which this forum is all about. I think the number of helpful posts I've made here is sufficient evidence of that.

    What I do have a problem with is when hobbyists or novices take business from me, and thus compromise my ability to effectively care for my family. I have a beautiful fiancee and and the most wonderful 2 year old. It was so hard for me to find work in the beginning of 2002 that I had to move away from them for 5 months to find the best work, time which I will never be able to replace. I don't need to spend time explaining to you why I know that it was hobbyists who made it difficult for me, I just know and me telling you that should be sufficient.

    When I get the chance, I will read the links you provided an re-evaluate my stance on the text-resizing issue. In my last couple of posts, I have 'shot from the hip' on this subject, as it is something I have not ever thought about deeply.

    Cheers
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy blufive's Avatar
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    What iTec said. I was going to rant a lot more, but he said most of it it better already.

    Re: Interpreting cruddy HTML, I'm with you, Beetle.

    This isn't like that, though. Text resizing is a separate issue, that helps the user regardless of your code quality. Writing code that allows for it won't cause your page to mess up in other browsers, unlike writing code that's propped up by IE's bugs.

    (BTW, I believe Opera does something similar, too)

    Edit: Having read the zeldman comments linked by iTec, IE/Mac does it too.
    Last edited by blufive; Oct 27, 2002 at 15:40.

  13. #13
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Hello all

    I have read through the information on those two sites and have for the most part, changed my opinion in favor of letting the user have control over font size. But, this change does not come completely or without stipulation.

    1) I was really bugged by Nielsen's idiotic comparison between the old '2-button' text change vs. the new '1-button', text change. He wrote
    1. Acquire the button by moving the mouse pointer over it. Since buttons are reasonably big in IE, this step is fairly quick according to Fitts's Law.
    2 .Press down the mouse button.
    3. This causes a pull-down menu to appear, with five possible font sizes. Scan this menu, making a mental note of which font size is currently selected.
    4. Mentally compute which new font size you want. This is typically one size bigger (or smaller) than the current selection.
    5. While you continue to press the mouse button, move the pointer down the menu until it points to the desired new font size.
    6. Let go of the mouse button.

    Compare this awkward, six-step process with the interaction technique required by a design that includes separate buttons for "make text larger" and "make text smaller":

    1. Click the desired button.
    He admits to cheating to make the 2nd list smaller, but not enough...his 2nd list really should look like this
    1. Mentally compute which size change you want, larger or smaller
    2. Acquire the button by moving the mouse pointer over it. Since buttons are reasonably big in IE, this step is fairly quick according to Fitts's Law.
    3. Press down the mouse button.
    4. Let go of the mouse button.
    I know this isn't directly related to our subject, but idiocy such as this tends to rob the author of credibility, quick.

    2) To quote once more from Mr. Nielsen....
    Readability Guidelines for Websites
    • Do not use absolute font sizes in your style sheets. Code font sizes in relative terms, typically using percentages such as 120% for big text and 90% for small text.
    • Make your default font size reasonably big (at least 10 point) so that very few users have to resort to manual overrides.
    • If your site targets senior citizens, use bigger default font sizes (at least 12 point).
    • If possible, avoid text that's embedded within a graphic, since style sheets and font size buttons don't have any effect on graphics. If you must use pictures of text, make sure the font size is especially large (at least 12 point) and that you use high-contrast colors.
    Let me use my new site design as a comparison tool for these points.

    First point:
    I use relative sizes for everything but the NAV links
    Second point:
    Done.
    Third point:
    Doesn't, but the only fixed text I have (the NAV) is 13px which is equivalent to the 10pt listed in #2.
    Fourth point:
    Done.

    Ok, so you are probably thinking, "Why not just make NAV text bigger, then you'll be ok?" Here's why, to quote Nielsen for the final time, from his Readability Guidelines list:
    Maximize the color contrast between the text and the background (and do not use busy or watermarked background patterns). Despite the fact that low-contrast text further reduces readability, the Web is plagued by gray text these days.
    See pic for details



    I think I've said my peace. Overall, I agree with the idea/movement to allow users to change text-size with impunity. BUT, I also think that we web-designers that DO know the difference shouldn't be penalized either. At least let us have ONE text-size-unit that cannot be changed by the browser.

    Footnote: Visit the design-talented, technology-whizzes over at 2advanced who make excellent websites, but are the most typographically-challenged lot I've seen. If you want to complain about non-readability issues on the web, start with places like this.
    Last edited by beetle; Oct 28, 2002 at 14:40.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by beetle
    I think I've said my peace. Overall, I agree with the idea/movement to allow users to change text-size with impunity. BUT, I also think that we web-designers that DO...[snip]... changed by the browser.

    Footnote: Visit the design-talented, technology-whizzes over at 2advanced.....
    I do actually agree with you that there should be atleast 1 unit of mesurement or perhaps a means of preventing resizing such as text-decoration: no-resize; for cases where resizing is undesired. (is this not the benefit of CSS? The ability to completely control the presentation?).

    as for 2advanced, it well knowen that its unaccesible. I actually really dislike the site, i just like the eye candy... but the site isnt there to be read, its there to be felt, to inspire both others and potential clients.

  15. #15
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iTec
    ...but the site isnt there to be read, its there to be felt, to inspire both others and potential clients.
    True, and would be more acceptable if all of their client sites didn't follow suit....some of them ARE there to be read.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Originally posted by iTec

    I do actually agree with you that there should be atleast 1 unit of mesurement or perhaps a means of preventing resizing such as text-decoration: no-resize; for cases where resizing is undesired. (is this not the benefit of CSS? The ability to completely control the presentation?).
    I agree on this point as well. I am a big usability buff, but disagree with Nielson on many of his points.
    Wavelan


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