Molly speaks up...#1

...what font-size..?

Molly on web-surfers and font-size…

I've been surfin' the web for a while, and have met many strange creatures. Most of them have two legs I guess, but I can get around much faster since I have four. I have found many friends out here, and some like to know what I think about this and that.

I'm an Opera-meow-fan, but I always like to know what kind of strange bit-stream-engines other creatures use for surfin'. I like to zoom images best myself, but what about all that is written out here?

Most web-surfers like small fonts, but the font has to be large enough to read...!!?!

Somewhere between 12 and 16px— depending on font-family, is "not too big and not too small" for most web-surfers – on most of today's screens. Now the question is how to cope with some wishes for larger fonts, smaller fonts, or other “user-control”...

the norm: designs based on ignoranse…

End-users – the potential visitors – are largely ignored, as clients and web designers try to get as much text as possible packed into as small a space as possible, in order to make designs “work”. Of course, such an approach doesn't work at all on the web, but clients and web designers too often choose to ignore reality – and potential visitors –  in their quest for “perfection”.

It is strange to see that so many web designers prefer to declare a small font-size base for their documents – without realizing that the smaller they declare it; the larger we see it at our end. Talk about ignorance – have they never tested how some browsers apply minimum font size?

So it is most often left to the end-user to adjust font size and work around the designs (or whatever they call those creations) to get to the content. The end-users' ability to affect the end-result, does of cause vary greatly.

1: in the dark…

dead herring

Most web-surfers use Internet Explorer (even though a lot of them are not aware of it), and they don't want to be in control of anything. Someone else has to tell them what to do, and they won't know how to do it anyway. They are used to pixel-defined fonts, and doesn't understand what's going on if it isn't.

They are ignorant of what IE/win can do and what it can't, and they couldn't care less. Browsing is "click a link - look at it - and click the BACK-button", and they rarely read much. They are equally ignorant of what is "proper" setting of screen-resolution and all the other options, and usually get it wrong.

2: seeing the light…

Some (a growing number) use Opera/Firefox/Mozilla/Seamonkey/Netscape/Konqueror/Safari/Omniweb/iCab etc. These users are often slightly better informed, and are able to adjust some of the settings so they get what they want. They learn that pixel-defined text doesn't matter, since they can zoom text anyway.

OTOH: they don't like to zoom, or change settings, from one site to another, so they like it better if all sites have somewhat the same font size: "not too big and not too small".

3: do it right, or else…

Some web-surfers do have a mind of their own, although few of them are very independent "thinkers". They usually follow a "trend" because it's "cool" or something. They can take "control", and so they do just that without knowing too much about what's going on.

They can become pretty mad if something is not obeying their new-found control, and they shout all over the place without too much of a clue about what they are shouting about and what to do about it.

Some of them can be pretty arrogant because they think they know what's right and what's wrong. Validity-fanatics are amongst those, and font-size fanatics is another group. Some even think that some of the web-design gurus are right all the time, because they happen to be right some of the time. What a joke.

4: relax a bit…

A few web-surfers know better than most web-designers how it all works. They don't complain all that much –  just overrides everything till it suits them. They know how to fix things, but they rarely bother to mention it unless they are asked.

They are used to the mess, and they have stopped thinking it can ever be fixed (it's against human nature to fix things for real). They are not all that arrogant, because they know how hard (or rather impossible) it is – for humans at least – to create something perfect.

time for a nap…

Guess I feel most at home in the last group, although I'm very good at scratching keyboards. The mouse isn't bad either, but I like the real ones better...

I like the fact that I can override and/or ignore font-sizes in all browsers at my disposal. Turns surfing into a much better experience when my friend, the author, can read the text and tell me what it says.

Time for a good meal and some warm cow-milk, and a nap to let all my latest web-experiences sink in. miaoo – I'll be back...

sincerely  molly 'the cat'

Hageland 01.des.2004
▶ last rev: 11.jul.2007

Molly speaks up...

Molly: can I have a real mouse now?
Opera: ssshh, we're on line.



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Dear visitor:

There's a cat and mouse game going on.
Microsoft launches another bug, and we just have to catch it.
I'm good at this game, you know... miaoo.


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