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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Fonts...PT or PX?

    Should I use PT or PX for my fonts? What about other elements? Or does it matter?

  2. #2
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    You should probably use points (pt) for any text unless you want it to remain unchanged... like you might have a navigational bar that needs the text to be an exact size all the time, in that case use px (pixels).

    That basically sums it up anyway

  3. #3
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    Ok. So on the Navbar I should use px but text and headings should be pt?

    Can you explain what the difference is?

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    I was just using the navbar as an example - it's not a rule or anything

    In internet explorer, you can zoom in and out, so if people have trouble reading your site, they can go to "large" text size... if you set your fonts to px, then that overrides internet explorer and keeps them the same size.

    It's only really for elements that not look very good if you allow the user to change the size of the text themselves.

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    If you want to allow users to re-size the fonts the best thing to use is 'em'. That allows you to set the relative size of each part of your page, but doesn't force the browser to use any paticular size.

  6. #6
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    Hi,

    You should avoid fixing the text size as it really should be up to the user to view at whatever size they can see best. The main Idea behing CSS is to have a fluid layout which means fluid text and containers etc.

    Therefore I use % or ems or one of the absolute references such as xx-small, x-small, small, medium, large, x-large or xx-large. If you set your default size (in the body) to medium then you can make your headings say 150% then the relationship between them will always be the same even on different resolutions even if the user adjusts the text size. (ems are similar e.g. 0.8 em, 1.5 em etc)

    Points and pixels are fixed sizes. Points are best used when you want to send output to a printer. Pixels are a fixed size and will not allow the user to change the size. However this is only true in IE. Mozilla and Opera both allow me to change the size of the text. Therefore if the text in your navbar is fixed and your navbar is fixed the text will not fit the nav bar.

    As with all of CSS the best approach is to avoid pixel precision and opt for a fluid layout that puts the user in control.

    Hope this helps.

    Paul

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard xyuri's Avatar
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    Well, I, by default, tend to just stick my fonts as 11px,Verdana then change them to something else is i feel it needs changing. I use PX cos it just seems easier in my opinion; if someone who has serious dificulty with vision visits my site them they would have some O/S level tools to be handling that. also, I dont like the idea of people seeing anything as being different with different settings and browsers.

    thats mainly why I just use PX for everything. also, its just easer specifying heights and whatnot for everything using the same standard, instead of PT for text and PX for other crap

  8. #8
    ********* Wizard silver trophy Cam's Avatar
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    I use the absolute references , xx-small - xx-large.

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    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
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    Hi,

    if someone who has serious dificulty with vision visits my site them they would have some O/S level tools to be handling that

    That's putting the onus on the disabled to overcome the limitations of your design.I'm afraid that could be classed as discrimination. In America at the moment there is a big push on accessibility and there have even been damages awarded for sites that have been seen to discriminate against the disabled.

    Without wishing to push the point here is a quote that you might find useful:

    "The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
    -- Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

    Worth thinking about.

    Paul

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by xyuri
    also, I dont like the idea of people seeing anything as being different with different settings and browsers.
    Get used to it.

  11. #11
    Sultan of Ping jofa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by platinum
    In internet explorer, you can zoom in and out, so if people have trouble reading your site, they can go to "large" text size... if you set your fonts to px, then that overrides internet explorer and keeps them the same size.
    Text size does not change in IE if you set your fonts to a fixed size (px or pt doesn't matter)
    In Mozilla, the size changes (px or pt doesn't matter!)
    Last edited by jofa; Feb 18, 2003 at 05:46.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by jofa

    Text size does not change in IE if you set your fonts to a fixed size (px or pt doesn't matter)
    In Mozilla, the size changes if you use pt
    Ermm, that is what platinum is trying to say.

    That said, Opera behaves the same as Mozilla in this aspect.

  13. #13
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    In Mozilla(and well, everything else but IE Win) px areresizable also; I do it all the time in Chimera.
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    Sultan of Ping jofa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by duckie
    Ermm, that is what platinum is trying to say.
    Nope, the question was:
    "Should I use PT or PX ..."
    and platinum's answer:
    "...if you set your fonts to px..."

    Implicit meaning: if you set your fonts to pt, they will change size

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by jofa

    Nope, the question was:
    "Should I use PT or PX ..."
    and platinum's answer:
    "...if you set your fonts to px..."

    Implicit meaning: if you set your fonts to pt, they will change size
    Ahh...pt does not change size? Now i'm red faced. Good thing I've been using em.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Paul O'B
    Without wishing to push the point here is a quote that you might find useful:

    "The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
    -- Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

    Worth thinking about.

    Paul
    But don't dwell on it too long.

    It is ridiculous to think that the development of a 'universal' and 'free' platform such as the web should *only* be under the governance of a single attitude.

    The real beauty of the web is not in its universality, but its capacity to address *any* kind of person in a way that suits *them* best, however general or however *specific* that may be.

    Forcing sites to become accessible is basically forcing one section of society's beliefs and concerns onto another who by any measure are not going out of their way to do anyone any harm.

    It's all well and good wishing that the playing field was more level, but using legislation to ensure it is simply forcing companies to offer a service to those people from which they may not benefit.
    Voluntary compliance with recommendations should be the sum extent of any push towards accessibility.

    Making the web accessible is right. Forcing people to contribute is wrong. Whatever happened to *my* right of choice?

    As heartless as it may sound, we should not be 'forced' to make the problems of others our problem too.
    Discrimination will always take place in as much as someone somewhere will not be able tofully access every aspect of a site.
    By drawing a line in the sand we are simply discounting those with disabilities that neccessarily exclude them from the benefits inherant with current guidelines.
    There will always be someone somewhere needing the extra help afforded by other technologies. Short of placing hefty sound files onto a website, there is little a site can do itself to make itself immediately accessible to blind web-users.
    The technology already exists to assist them with interaction in a world 'optimised' for able-bodied people.

    At what point can we as designers and developers of a supposed 'free platform' stop being forced to build a world around the 'preferences' of a minority and continue to compensate for that minority when technological options already exist to address their needs?
    And what point can we stop feeling guilty for forcing the same consumer decisions on disabled consumers as we have always forced on able-bodied consumers?

    At what point can we stop feeling guilty because our eyes and ears work as they should?
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  17. #17
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    You're forgetting to take a few things into consideration.

    1)Section 508 Guidelines. Anyone that wants to work with the US government needs to meet certain accessibility guidelines. I'm fairly positive that there are quite a few countriies with several laws.

    2)Accessibility (and all usability, in fact) is not purely altruistic. You are widening your potential audience. Do people leave huge annoying sound files out of their pages out of teh kindness of their hearts or because they know that their audience will probably leap to the back button as soon as they hear it. I'm sure the "close window" shortcut works in JAWS, too
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Originally posted by anode
    You're forgetting to take a few things into consideration.

    1)Section 508 Guidelines. Anyone that wants to work with the US government needs to meet certain accessibility guidelines. I'm fairly positive that there are quite a few countriies with several laws.

    2)Accessibility (and all usability, in fact) is not purely altruistic. You are widening your potential audience. Do people leave huge annoying sound files out of their pages out of teh kindness of their hearts or because they know that their audience will probably leap to the back button as soon as they hear it. I'm sure the "close window" shortcut works in JAWS, too
    I forgot nothing, just didn't mention everything.

    There are a great many more web-designers/developers/sponsors out there than simply those seeking .gov contracts.
    Surprisingly, not every site revolves around making government information (public access) available to people.
    Government is strutcurally bought, paid for and owned by the public which gives them the right to access an or all departments and information of relevance to them as tax paying citizens.
    Private and non-nationalised companies should not be forced to comply with accessibility guidelines.

    They should be encouraged to do so, but should have the right to pass on the 'opportunity' should they decide that it is not iin their interest to do comply.

    Whether or not a company feels that appealing to a differently-abled sector is financially appropriate to them should be *their* decision, not the governments.
    Who is likely to know more about selling shoes- the government or the owner of a shoe store?

    Whether or not a site involves larger files (for example) is just another decision that the site owners *alone* should make when trading off authenticity of experience with download delay.
    Business decisions should be left to the business community to make for themselves.
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  19. #19
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Section 508 goes past .gov. If you are not 508 compliant, you are ineligible to provide government procurement. The US government is of course, the single biggest consumer in the U.S.

    Of course site owners should make their own decisions. I would say "I am not interested in these potential visitors' business" is not a great business decision. Feel free to disagree.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by anode
    Of course site owners should make their own decisions. I would say "I am not interested in these potential visitors' business" is not a great business decision. Feel free to disagree.
    Sorry. Had to chime in here. I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to add some remarks. This debate is always heated, and I like to throw in my $.02. Adhering to accessibility guidelines does more than support the disabled. Don’t forget that search engine spiders are essentially blind users. Structuring a site so that information flows logically is important. Does accessibility have any bearing on whether to use px or pt? Probably not, but since the discussion here has shifted to the accessibility debate, accessibility is important for many business decisions.

    Bill, I understand your position that you don’t want to have things imposed on you and that’s fine, but to push in the direction and even suggest that accessibility is not that important is spreading ignorance. Your choice, you choose, but you seem like a pretty well respected person on these boards and it surprises that you’d take the “freedom to choose” stance on the accessibility issue. Are you playing devil's advocate?

    As consultants and professionals, we need to make our clients aware of the implications of ignoring the issues. Do I say we need to support every possible convention for accessibility? Of course not, but we need be aware of them and leave our designs open for future implementation of such devices.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrispalle
    Bill, I understand your position that you don’t want to have things imposed on you and that’s fine, but to push in the direction and even suggest that accessibility is not that important is spreading ignorance. Your choice, you choose, but you seem like a pretty well respected person on these boards and it surprises that you’d take the “freedom to choose” stance on the accessibility issue. Are you playing devil's advocate?
    Firstly, I never once stated that I or anyone else should regard the issue of accessibility as unimportant. Evenso, as important as I believe it is, I believe that the issue of choice is even more important and worthy of protection.
    Unfashionably, I consider the 'right of choice' of site authors and business/service owners to be as 'inalienable' as those of the various minorities some here are seeking to represent.

    I do not state these views as devil's advocate. I stand squarely behind all of my (many) statements on this subject as strongly felt points of principle.
    I am first and foremost a designer. Significantly, I am one who believes that the site author should have first crack as to how the detail of a site should appear to the user.
    I am fully in favour of end-users being able to override and customise a site's appearance in their own favour according to their tastes and/or requirements.

    The one part of this particular topic that I find totally unacceptible is that the finger of discrimination can potentially be pointed at us (site designers/developers/authors/owners) solely on the basis on our preferential use of px(-perfect) type.

    I deeply resent the notion that 'we' can be legally condemned for the failings of MS's IE/Win* development team and the end-user's self-inflicted limitations, by which I refer to their own consumer ignorance that leads them to use the one browser that restricts their ability to compensate for the disabilities (vis a vis px vs pt).
    (* IE/Mac has never had a problem resizing px-sized fonts)

    We should not be obliged to forego our right to initally present our sites (and those of our clients) in as precise detail as we envisioned solely to compensate for the unique accessibility/usability limitations of one, single browser - especially when other browsers are freely and equally available without such limitations.
    When the end-user can freely and easily obtain and use 'superior' alternatives that are not subject to certain limitations, they shouldn't be empowered to push the blame onto others, but must take responsibility for the restrictions inherent in their own poor consumer decisions - just like the rest of us.
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Originally posted by anode
    Section 508 goes past .gov. If you are not 508 compliant, you are ineligible to provide government procurement. The US government is of course, the single biggest consumer in the U.S.

    Of course site owners should make their own decisions. I would say "I am not interested in these potential visitors' business" is not a great business decision. Feel free to disagree.
    While I don't disagree, it's worth pointing out that if the answer were always a foregone conclusion in favour of appealing to disabled sectors then why would accessibility compliance not thrive as a matter for individual choice?

    Evidentally, there are a great many companies out there that feel that appealing to disabled consumers would offer so little return that it would not be a worthwhile investment of their time or resources.
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  23. #23
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bill Posters
    Evidentally, there are a great many companies out there that feel that appealing to disabled consumers would offer so little return that it would not be a worthwhile investment of their time or resources.
    Maybe they haven't thought about? To consider implementing accessibility, it has to cross your radar. Most people don't even know that stuff like longdesc and accesskey exists. Most people don't even know that text resizing is an option for visitors(I know I didn't when I ditched NN4 for IE in the days before the browser market kicked up.)
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    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Originally posted by anode


    Maybe they haven't thought about? To consider implementing accessibility, it has to cross your radar. Most people don't even know that stuff like longdesc and accesskey exists. Most people don't even know that text resizing is an option for visitors(I know I didn't when I ditched NN4 for IE in the days before the browser market kicked up.)
    You are assuming alot.

    Maybe they haven't. Maybe they have.
    Maybe they shouldn't have to.

    Maybe they only really need to think about such things when it occurs to them (or it is pointed out to them) that they may be missing out on the profits available from the disabled consumers.

    Either way, what action and research they did or didn't and should and shouldn't take is something that they would know much more about than either you or I. Rather than second guess what is right or wrong for other people's businesses, I say introduce the subject then let them make their own mind up.

    Feel free to ask your clients if it's crossed their mind.
    New Plastic Arts: Visual Communication | DesignateOnline

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  25. #25
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    I am my clients.

    Trust me, I look at these things from a business perspective. I wasn't really sold on accessibilty until I looked at it from the business side. I look at business one way, others look at it another way ad that's why we see threads like this one.
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