Type size is not something you have control of. You make it sound as if your site works for "normal users" but some users out there have meddled with their settings. This is not true--there is no "normal user." Different platforms have different size text. I have one monitor with a 1600 pixel resolution so I use 18 point fonts for my *small* text, and believe me, on this monitor it looks quite small.
Then comes the issue, how do you know what font they are using? Arial? I don't have that on my machine. I use Helvetica. You're getting too wrapped up in your particular machine specs.
In short I suggest you don't try to make it all line up perfectly. Just let it be whatever size it wants to be.
I'd have to go with Bolotomus on this one, though perhaps not quite so vehemently...
I've had good cross-browser/platform results standardizing text appearance with CSS, but it doesn't disable the user's ability to resize text... and it doesn't solve the 'missing fonts' dilemma. If you're careful when specifying alternate fonts, you can almost completely avoid any major problems, but not quite.
Also, when resizing text comes up, the issue of accessibility also rears it's ugly head... unless you're targeting to a very specific audience you know will all have good eyesight and roughly equivalent monitor sizes, some text will simply be too small for some users.
I've found it's generally best to design with "squashability" built into your layouts... otherwise, you'll just drive yourself mad trying to attain uniformity, and probably p!ss off a few users while you're at it.
If you use CSS and specify pixel size rather than point size then it wo'nt matter what platform/browser they use. I test all my stuff on 14, 17 and 21 inch monitors, on 800x600 to 1280 x 1040 and on PC and Macintosh and it always looks pretty much the same.
The vast majority of users will have verdana, arial etc.
As for the minority of people that do resize text I don't think its anything to worry about. The menus will have much bigger text and may not align correctly but they should still work. I zoomed my text to 200% and everything worked how it should :)
however...if you specify pixel size you will cause problems for everyone that has set text sizes to something very different to your preferences
I have a friend who's default is usually 16pt...he has limited eyesight...he simply CAN'T read anything smaller...I find a lot of sites have text that I can barely read
IMO, any time you have to specify a fixed text size on a web page it implies some sort of conceptual failure in the design
Hmmm, not sure what you mean Eric, the browser will change the text regardelss of wether you specified text size or not.
unless he sets up a style sheet locally that will override what comes with the site, then setting a font to a pixel size will override his defaults making it initially unreadable
So wait, let me get this straight. I have a style sheet already that specifies a pixel height for the options in these menus. It seems like what you are saying is that this will override the preferences in peoples browsers and my text wil initially appear as I intended it, but if they click the 'larger' button it will enlarge?
If so that's ok by me because they will see that the menus line up whebn the page loads and it is their action of resizing that causes them to misalign (plus, as Knightly said, they still roughly align, they just don't perfectly align in the aesthetically pleasing way I want them to).
Is this right?
you can't overide someones browser settings
If the user has specified 16 pt in their own Style Sheet then the text will be 16 pt regardless of wether I specify the size in pixel, points or whatever.
If someone has enough savvy to tamper with the setting then they should have enough savvy to realise why the page may appear a little strange ;)
If someone has enough savvy to tamper with the setting then they should have enough savvy to realise why the page may appear a little strange
My feelings exactly. If a web site visitor is enlarging their browser text via creating their own browser-side style sheet, they know exactly what they're doing, and they probably have a darn good reason for doing it (poor eyesight, etc.)
If they even know enough to use the text size adjustments in their browser, it's probably because they arrived at a site using CSS pixel-sizing, and decided it was too small. Either way, they know they're messing with the site's appearance, and I doubt they'll blame the webmaster for the resulting visual funkiness.
my text wil initially appear as I intended it, but if they click the 'larger' button it will enlarge?
I believe this is how it works...
I like your logic knightly
> If you use CSS and specify pixel size rather
> than point size then it wo'nt matter what
> platform/browser they use
No--the resolution of the target monitor is still a big factor then. If they have a 640x480 monitor, those 18 pixel letters look huuuge. If they have a 2048x1636 they are squinting.
Of course if I took this attitude to the extreme, the next thing I'd be telling you is that you can't use any graphics at all on your site, since you don't know how big they will relative to the screen size.
One must find a balance, and for many applications CSS pixel-height is just the ticket.
I did some tests on my Win98 notebook for the difference that system font settings creates, and I compiled the screenshots. Here's the GIF [pages.prodigy.net].
Changing the system font size changes the pixel-sized browser font in a big way, but the point-sized browser fonts are at least closer.
On newer PCs today, the default system font size sometimes IS set to large. This means pixel-sized text gets magnified on those systems, even for users who haven't touched their defaults! I ran into this problem recently when one of my clients replaced all their computers and several pages on their website looked awful to them!
By the way, I did this test with Netscape 4.77 MSIE will scale the point-sized fonts slightly larger. So there really is no hope for absolutely controlling the layout.
But presumably pixel sized fonts will (on most browsers) be accurately proportional to pixel sized graphics surrounding them... unless the user resizes, right?