Making fonts accessible

Jumbled letters with words 'read' and 'vision'

This is a followup to my August 17 post, “Ctrl-scroll makes a big difference!”

If you are using Ctrl-scroll, the page may become distorted if the font is too large. For example, if you continue to make this page larger, most likely you will lose the right sidebar. If that happens, the sidebar is not really lost, it just jumped to the bottom of the page.

If you need the larger font to read a page, that’s fine. When you’re finished reading, you can go to the bottom to find the parts you lost. Or you can use the Ctrl-scroll to make the font smaller and everything should go back to it’s proper place again.

In Internet Explorer, you may find that some pages display better if you use the fonts specified by the web designer. If you check “Ignore font sizes specified on web pages” under the accessibility options (See my August 17 post for more info), be sure to remember where you found this option. That way you can toggle back and forth as needed.

Specifying font sizes allows webmasters to make their page more readable (larger fonts for headings, etc.) There are several methods of doing this. Current recommendations are to use relative sizes such as percentages, em, or simply ‘smaller’ or ‘larger,’ rather than pixel (px) or point (pt) sizes.

As I revise my websites I’m switching to relative sizes. As I write this, some of my sites still have the older font-size values, and I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to get them switched. But it’s important for web designers to keep in mind these accessibility issues.

Here is an excellent link on this subject from the London based
Royal National Institute of the Blind

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