Q/A: Font Size Issues
Q: I like the design of the web site. However, one issue
is that it is hard to see the navigation menu on the pages.
The font is hard to read and looks squished to me. Have you
tried other fonts?
A: The fonts we use for the menus, the front page PDA boxes, the
headlines, and the main body have been carefully tested.
While using cascading style sheets as we do provides many
advantages, it also results in some tradeoffs. In particular,
different browsers display the same css size tag of a font
as different sizes. So, a "medium" font may appear as
quite large with one browser, and quite small with another.
The same browser may display the same size tag at different
actual sizes depending
on the monitor used, or the underlying operating system.
After checking several variations, we decided our menus
would use a serif font that may appear a little small to
some browsers (notably Netscape) and a little
big to others (notably Internet Explorer). This was done
very deliberately, but, as with all compromises, it can
result in a less than ideal solution for a particular
We considered not using the css size tags, and instead specifying
the point size of the font directly. But this would result in a
font that would always be displayed at that size, even if users
changed the text size used by their browser. We wanted to allow
our users to be able to increase or decrease the font size
to what they want to see on their browser on their display.
If the font size is bothersome to you, it is possible for a
user to change the displayed font to be bigger or smaller
through their bowser options. For Netscape, this
is done on the menu bar by selecting
or "View"->"Decrease Font".
For Internet Explorer,
it is done on the menu bar by selecting
"View"->"Text Size"-> then the desired size.
Other browsers may also provide a way to change
the viewing size.
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