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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?

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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

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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

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    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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    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

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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 06:46.

  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.
    TuitionFree a free library for the self-taught
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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.
    New Plastic Arts: Visual Communication | DesignateOnline

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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
    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.
    New Plastic Arts: Visual Communication | DesignateOnline

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  21. #21
    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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  22. #22
    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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  23. #23
    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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  24. #24
    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
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    quote:
    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

    I find that remark quite offensive!! Why not charge disabled users double and also make it harder for them,it's not our fault they're disabled.

    The point is that disabled users have a right to access everyday services that others take for granted. That is why we have (and need) discrimination laws against views like yours.

    In the UK we have laws which protect the rights of the disabled and although not specificallly targetted at the web, their guidelines easily apply.

    Quote:
    Disability Discrimination Act Part III - Access to Goods and Services
    Part III of the DDA gives disabled people important rights of access to everyday services that others take for granted.
    Duties under Part III are coming into force in three stages.

    Treating a disabled person less favourably because they are disabled has been unlawful since December 1996.
    Since October 1999, service providers have had to consider making reasonable adjustments to the way they deliver their services so that disabled people can use them.
    The final stage of the duties, which means service providers may have to consider making permanent physical adjustments to their premises, comes into force in 2004.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    My original point was that by making small allowances such as not using points or pixel sizes in our main text then we are all doing our bit to help accessibility. It's a small price to pay which will bring big benefits to those that require it.

    I'm sorry you don't agree and saddened by your response.

    Paul

  25. #25
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    Interesting discussions

    I try and cater for the largest audience, and if that means cutting out the small percentage of users who have a disability, then it's up to them on the client side to do it. I'll code to some standards which will work with their client side software though, but I unless the target audience primarily requires some kind of special accesability, it's not up to me.

    There's some bold outlandish statements hehe, i'll provide the ramps and information, but it's BYO wheel chairs and magnifying glass


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