I HAVE BEEN TOLD I DESERVE
“A FULL LIFE THAT ISN’T JUST ABOUT FIGHTING FOR THINGS”

Our esteemed colleagues at Accessibilité Web – an echt–Canadian French name if ever there were one – evaluated leading Web sites for accessibility. Most flunked, of course. Our colleagues are pulling a Jakob and charging for their research, but they did summarize it for us. On their (otherwise solid) list of typical mistakes we find:

Tailles de polices fixes: 82 % des sites évalués comportent l’utilisation de mesures absolues de police (pixels, points, etc.). L’impact est majeur si l’on considère le nombre de visiteurs affectés, la population de plus de 40 ans et toutes les personnes ayant une limitation visuelle légère ou moyenne. Le coût de correction est minime car ces pages utilisent déjà une feuille de styles qu’il suffit de modifier une seule fois. Utiliser des polices de caractères qui ont de l’élasticité en utilisant des mesures relatives.

[“Fixed font sizes: 82% of sites tested used absolute font measurements (pixels, points, etc.). The effect is significant if we keep in mind the number of visitors affected, the over-40 population, and people with light to moderate visual impairments. The cost to correct the error is minimal since these pages are already using a stylesheet that only needs a one-time update. Use resizable fonts by specifying relative units.”]

This is kind of a motherhood issue that comes up over and over again. The use of px units, when viewed with IE6 or IE7, leads to fonts you can’t resize (unless you turn off some seriously buried preferences). Every other browser on every platform can enlarge or reduce fonts in any CSS unit, including px. It’s true that pt makes sense only for print stylesheets, but px is a “relative” unit, as I keep reminding people.

Really, this isn’t the problem that people claim it is. Some screen magnifiers work only with IE6; maybe those users are the only ones affected. (That’s how many people now?) The day will come when those devices work with Firefox and Opera, at which point everybody can finally quit reiterating this myth as though it were true.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.12.20 17:40. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2007/12/20/px-pt/

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