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Text too Small! (?)
Why is the text on even some major sites so small?

 5:15 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lately I have been seeing sites like Alexa and even wired.com all of sudden have text that is unreadable for an old guy like me. Alexa used to be fine and now I have to raise my text size when I come in and reduce it when I leave otherwise all the other site's text are way too large.

On our site we have a minimum and it works very well. Is this some kind of editor causing this? Along with a webmaster who obviously did not account for browser settings.

I'm at the old default 500x600 and it's a pain to have to constantly change text size. I recently got a large sports site (tsn) to go back to the original style because I would have had to go elsewhere for my sports fix.

Anyone understand why this is happening even with some major sites?



 8:00 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it's seen as trendy, for reasons which elude me. Rather like sites with poor text/background contrast.


 8:35 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you use Firefox or Opera, you can set the minimum font size. So nothing can go below that size. I use it all the time as I hate very small text.


 6:14 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I totally agree on this one. I'm not blind (YET! :-) ) and use medium settings on my browser. I'm apalled when I visit major sites where the text renders at a mere 3 or 4 pixels. It's even more of an embarrassment when they do this and the size is fixed. IMO this is just poor testing and is tunnel vision design.

A visitor shouldn't have to EVER adjust their environment to compensate for your concept of "good design." This is, well, just plain egotistical.


 6:27 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't know about the others but control + mouse scroll-wheel adjusts the text in Firefox.

Quick and easy but not a good as setting minimum font as noted above.

Another oldie lol


Candid India

 6:45 am on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is happening with many of of the major sites because of the advent and increased usage of CSS (Cascading Style sheets), which separates the presentation style of documents from the content of documents.

With CSS authors can tailor the presentation of their documents to different visual browsers, aural devices, printers, braille devices, handheld devices, etc and so most of them probably chose a default font size that is smaller than the one which is easily read by you but is accurately read by many visitors. It is my personal opinion that the designers tend to keep a minimal font size so that maximum content of the page may be viewed without a scroll.


 6:59 am on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that so long as the design supports you changing the text size in your browser there is no problem with having the default text size as small as the designer feels they require.

Text size varies widely in books, magazines and newspapers. Compare the text size on the front page to that in the classifieds.


 10:54 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that so long as the design supports you changing the text size in your browser there is no problem with having the default text size as small as the designer feels they require.
Text size varies widely in books, magazines and newspapers. Compare the text size on the front page to that in the classifieds.

I was hoping someone here would defend it. With so much going on with this some webmasters must feel it's ok.

I'm not one of them.

There may be a lot of different text sizes and fonts in magazines but only the ones you can actually read would sell. We are talking about UNREADABLE at 600x800 which is your standard out of the box computer setting and many people never change it. I believe webmasters using fancy high settings are making the pages to look nice for their resolution and forgetting that many people will not make out a word.

If your entire main page is so small that numbers can not be distinquished from letters that is not good my friend. We are not talking about classifieds here and even if we were...they have to be at least readable. They are so small you can't make out a lot of letters and numbers UNLESS you put your text size up. A customer should NEVER have to do that. Then when they leave and go to better sites they have to put the size down again which is a pain in the butt.

It's not everywhere...but I see it on Alexa now and you'd think they could afford smarter webmasters than that. All they have to do is have a default minimum of 12 (which we do and is perfect on all our sites and for all browser settings)..

You could use font =1 I suppose if you want to use small print for ...let's say a disclaimer ..you can still go all the way down to a 1 point for that section.

The worst part is they show their co-workers and boss on their resolution which I'm sure is kick azz and they will never be the wiser as to how it looks to most other people.


 1:35 am on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

As the fool who dared defend it...

Viewing something at 800x600 makes it easier to see small fonts, not harder. The physical size of the letters is larger than at a higher resolution.

Many people have 20:20 vision at the kind of distance a computer is used at. Those who don't, in general, have availed themselves of a pair of glasses some time ago. Personally I fall into the latter group.

As someone who wears glasses for short distances I certainly do not think that everyone else should be increasing the size of things so I don't need to use my glasses. If I don't want to wear glasses then I am responsible for increasing the text size myself.

We aren't talking about an insurmountable barrier here. This isn't a flight of steps to the doorway with no ramp.

I did take a look at Alexa and couldn't find one font or character which was not easily readable without wearing my glasses. I did not increase the text size.


 11:31 pm on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not the specifics of the size that's the problem with small-text size usage. It's the thinking that anyone who visits a site should upgrade, educate themselves, change browser settings to what you THINK is "average," or otherwise adjust their world to see yours. You may, in all your experience, "know" what's best for the user, but this will only turn them off. People do not like to be told they are doing something wrong when they think they are OK.

Add to this many site visitors don't KNOW how to adjust text sizes, and they will never ask, because this makes them feel stupid. No one likes to feel stupid. If your site makes me feel stupid I will visit one more accomodating to my ignorance.

Anytime you use phrases like "best viewed in," "at X resolution," "you should [upgrade, adjust, educate]," or make any assumption that generalizes your visitors envionment, you are treading on "X-window" territory. Ad you'll never know until you get one mad enough to make them sound off. :-)

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