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From Michael.Schro...@telekurs.de
Subject Antwort: Re: Wacky new docs style
Date Fri, 30 Aug 2002 15:42:47 GMT

Hi Joshua,


> Yes the text size is perhaps slightly too small, and I have
> an updated tigris stylesheet that increases it just a bit.
> But unfortunately, the "small" size has become the standard
> on the web.  If you look at major websites, you'll see that
> virtually all use somthing resembling <small> for their default
> text font.

I guess this is because the first thing you do on a
page where you are new is scan, not read.
And scanning requires you to be able to have a lot of
information on the screen at once. While I am scanning,
I hate scrolling - which will change once I start reading
(as I am used to turning the pages of a book, and may
want to have a short break at paragraph ends anyway;
and I can scoll down via keyboard because I am no longer
searching, but I now _know_ where to scroll next.).

I became aware of my behaviour when regularly visiting
some discussion form. When I want to locate a discussion
thread, I scale down the font massively to have as many
threads on the screen as possible. But once I start to
read a thread, I scale up again as I now want to conten-
trate on the content, not only scan it.

So I could well live with the Apache _index_page_ having
a smaller font than the Apache _articles_ but doesn't
require me to scroll if I visit it with a maximized brow-
ser window (let's say, 1024*768, but maybe even 800*600).
Which makes me want the start page to dynamically use the
whole width of the window, perhaps in more columns than
now, instead of wasting the space and forcing me to scroll.

> The consequence is that people have adjusted their
> browser settings so that <small> is the most comfortable font
> to read.  Using anything bigger is too big for most people.

One more consequence of this tendency is that clever
browser producers think about how to add intelligence.

Like Mozilla:
  Edit -> Preferences -> Appearence -> Fonts
  -> Minimum font size (lower right side)

Which will just overrule everything you define in your
web pages: "I cannot read anything smaller than 12 pt.,
so my browser will automatically scale up everything
small, without me having to do anything ever again."

This makes web pages with small font sizes look awkward,
but at least readable ... ultimately, it is always the
user's choice.



Regards, Michael



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