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I can't read your content!

6:40 pm on May 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I am running into more sites utilizing 9px/10px/11px fixed font sizes for primary body copy. What's up with that? I can't read your content!
1:00 am on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Like MCs?
10:52 am on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Can't you just up the font size a touch on your browser? OK, so ideally the designers wouldn't be making the sites that small in the first place, but you've got the tools to get around it...
4:58 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Can't you just up the font size a touch on your browser?

Not in IE, I'd have to use the Accessibility options and override the pages default styling. The average user isn't going to do that, including myself. I'm just going to go somewhere else where the type is at least 11px and I can read it.

7:45 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You use IE? Oh, fair enough then :)
11:18 am on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Bear in mind the average user will use IE and won't know how to change his or her settings. Furthermore, at the moment most assistive technologies only run in conjunction with IE and will not work in Firefox. You can't just say "Well, it's the user's fault they use IE and Microsoft's fault that you can't enlarge text" because you'll still be inaccessible and you'll still be driving users away from your site when you can easily solve the problem by using a larger default size and not using fixed width fonts. Until IE fix their own problem it is something you do have to think about.
1:36 pm on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think you misunderstand me. Of course when I make sites I use 'em' sized text: it'd be negligent (and possibly illegal in my country) not to do so. But I can't talk for other people sites, that's an education issue that obviously isn't spreading.

From a user's point of view though they can just switch browser. Both Jaws and Window Eyes support Firefox with their current versions.

8:28 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, the newest versions of screen readers support Firefox, but most users do not upgrade regularly as it is very expensive. A few hundred pounds to get a new version of your software is a lot of money, especially for someone who is, quite possibly, already living off benefits.

I would hazard a guess that most JAWS users are using version 5.x or 6.x of JAWS at the moment, and you will even find users still on a 4.x version of JAWS.

Besides, no matter how many times you tell people that Firefox is a better browser, they will still want to stick with what they know. So what do you do for the vast majority who don't even know there is an alternative? You can't just say "Well, frankly, on those sites that don't work right in IE, users can just go find another browser." It's not going to happen. Users are more likely to go find another site.

I realise you were joking, but we encounter this attitude all too often from site owners who think the onus is on the user, not realising that if a user has no reason to stay on their site and their site is hard to use, the user will find a different site.

11:26 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I agree with you up until your last paragraph. I think the onus should be split equally between the user, the browser manufacturer and the AT manufacturer.

From my point of view I'm willing to help IE users out by sizing my text in em units. And yes, hopefully that'll bring more users away from my competitors sites and towards mine, as I've made the extra effort to be accessible (along with the moral and legal reasons for doing so of course). However it's not good enough for MS to say "it's purely up to the webmaster", and it's also not good enough for Freedom Scientific to price users out of the upgrade market.

This could mostly be solved by a decent open source screenreader of course, but as I understand it Microsoft's accessibility framework is iffy and requires lots of per-application behaviours.

5:45 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Believe it or not, there are users out there who havent even HEARD of Firefox or ANY other browsers or for that matter, a function for increasing text size. I know a lot of such people. That's why I would put the onus on the website designer. Of course you cant please all of the people all of the time. I'm very new to website designing and wouldnt have any idea of limitation or pressures designers have to do certain things a certain way. Though I wonder how many designers keep a 'target audience' in mind while designing a site...
9:25 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My standard browser spectrum is IE/5.0+, NS7.0+, Fx1.0+, and Safari1.0+. We've finally decided to drop IE5/mac down to 'unsupported' level but that doesn't mean we don't test in it and find solutions if there're glaring problems. I do understand that there are people who haven't heard of Firefox or even people who haven't heard of IE (they just use double click on 'the internet'). I just don't think everything can be shunted on to the web developers. If we acquiesce and find workarounds for every little bug then what incentive do the browser manufacturers ever have for updating their products? It's a viscious cycle and (to get back to the point) MS should be held every bit as culpable for releasing a product that doesn't support resizing of px sized fonts as should web developers who release sites that through their inaction fall prey to the same bug.
1:52 pm on May 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

How old are most web designers? Maybe it doesn't occur to them that there are a lot of us out there who can't read tiny font AND wouldn't think to go out of our way to change browsers, etc., because we aren't disabled, we're just, well, not kids anymore.

I especially *love* the tiny-light-grey-letters-on-white look that seems to be so stylish these days. What's up with THAT?!

4:09 pm on May 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

don't know if I'm missing something here but if someone is using a screen reader what does it matter what size the text is. surely it's just reading out the words.

on the subject of IE not resizing fixed font size surely it's not that much more difficult to go to:
tools/internet options/accessiblity/ignore font size...
(which will work on any site ever made anywhere ever)
than it is to go to:
view/text size/largest

If someone has visibitily issues, would this not be something they would be aware of, as it gives them complete control over text size on any page.

4:07 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I think it depends on your visitors. A lot of people are clueless on how to make changes like that (and I don't mean just old people).

It's not just a matter of serving those who are legally blind. There are a lot of people (like those over 40 who refuse to get reading glasses) who have trouble reading small print.

So if your readership is young and tech savy I suppose teeney fonts aren't a problem.

1:48 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

theonliest, there are all sorts of vision issues to consider in regards to fonts and font sizes and colour combinations. You also have to think about people with low vision, differing degrees of loss of sight, people with no peripheral vision who can only see a small pinpoint of the screen at a time and people with only peripheral vision. Many users will use screen magnification software, or will use a screen reader alongside their browser or screen magnifier in order to help them. So you do have to account for assistive technologies and people with varying degrees of sight. Also people with colourblindness, or cognitive issues. People with ADHD, dyslexia or memory issues may want larger fonts and a screen reader to help them focus on what they're reading, it really does depend on the person and what works best for them. Accessibility is not just about people who are blind.

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