Gentoo Archives: www-redesign

From: Stefan Huszics <sauron@×××××××.se>
To: www-redesign@××××××××××××.org
Subject: [www-redesign] Fontsize, linewidth & what's new underlying layout
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2005 17:42:56
Hi fellow webcoders :)

First I must apologize for if this has been already brought up, but I 
have not been able to find any mailarchive for this list. Also, since 
I'm not familear with CSV, I'm just looking the CSS file from and most recent addition by Curtis, so 
if some of these things is already changed in CSV I again apologize.

In any case, when I first visited these pages they where compleatly 
unreadable to me. The reason for this is that for some strange reason 
BODY has the highly inapropriate CSS of font-size: small. That means 
that my correctly set up browser, with a fontsize of comfortable 
readingsize, is suddenly compleatly ignored/run over by someones random 
preferance. Why?
Who thought is was a good idea to tell me that "hey your are using a too 
large fontsize, you should use a setting at least 11% smaller then what 
you currently belive is good for you, no matter what size you are 
currently using". Isn't this a VERY bad assumption o make?

Sure, it's easy enough to change the fontsize for me (albeight it might 
get a bit tiresome to have to do it every time I visit in the 
future...) but isn't it a lot smarter to start with the assumption that 
the user actually is happy with his current fontsize and dont need to be 
force to use smaller fontsize? If someone has their fontsize way too 
high (or for that matter already way too low) isn't it a lot better to 
have him/her changes their own preference settings to something that 
suits them instead of forcing everybody else to have to change fontsize 
_every_time_ they visit the website?

In short, can we please respect the visitors whishes and stick with 
font-size:100% as the dafault for the main content of the site?

Next thing, that also severly lowers readability, is that there seems to 
be no max-width at all defined for the textual content. Studies show 
that once text-lines become longer then about 35em or 40em at the most, 
readability (as in actually understanding  what you read) drops like a 
stone. Thus it is really good practice to make sure people can 
comfortably read what you write by adding eg max-width:38em on Ps. There 
is nothing wrong with allowing images/tables/etc to span a lot wider if 
the user have the screenspace, but plain text should be limited.

Next reflection, closely related to the above, is that not only is the 
no max-width, in fact the only forced width seems to be one that makes 
sure the page is a PIA to read on anything that has less then a 800px 
wide screen. Are we deliberately trying to piss of people on 640x480res 
or those trying to visit on eg their handhelds? I know I won't enjoy 
having a 4 screen wide page to scoll sideways on with my Symbian UIQ 
smartphone when it could wrap the text just fine at 208px if it was 
allowed to.
Surely we can manage to make a design that is a lot more forgiving in 
the screenresolutions the visitor has access to and not have to do 
really stupid things like min-width:770px on body.

In any case, I have also made a really quick proof of concept for how to 
get away from the tablemess/abuse in the "what's new" section. It 
especially improves readability in non CSS/table capable browsers. Since 
I don't know what has been done sofar by others I didn't make a 
compleate recoding of the page.

Opinions are most welcome / Stefan Huszics :)


File name MIME type
whatsnew.xhtml application/xhtml+xml
sauron.vcf text/x-vcard