Now This Log

Friday, 1 February 2002 : "Font sizes."

Old-web-curmudgeon font size gripe:

When so many sites out there set their main text's font size to be small (with, say, <font size="-1"> or <small> or some entry in a style sheet), it makes those of us who don't modify the text size of our body copy (under the assumption that the user will set the text to their own most comfortable font and size) look like we're artificially, deliberately big in comparison.

Over time, people will set their browser's font size to make the majority of sites they visit appear at a comfortably readable text size. If the majority of sites are a size small, that size will be set as the new 'normal' and sites that were a normal (unmodified) size will then appear as overly big text (as though we are shouting, perhaps) when in fact we were the ones trying not to interfere with the reader determining their own optimal settings for reading us. It's perverse, I tells ya.

Everything would have been better if so many people hadn't insisted that their sites appear as teeny text. Teeny text is good for sidebars and for other incidentals but not for the main blocks of text people come to a site for. Oh well, too late, can't do anything but moan and gripe.

"If everyone's site uses small text, no one's site will have small text."

Replies: 4 comments so far

Add a comment of your own

* Indeed -- with just a few exceptions, I don't read sites that use really teeny text. I mean, hello!! Eyestrain?? No thanks! I especially hate it when I can't adjust the text size (for whatever reason) with the browser... then I'm just inclined to click on by.

Posted by Mrs. NowThis @ 02/01/2002 12:29PM est

* I used to have a proxy filter out all FONT tags except the ones from Now I use Galeon, which lets me set a minimum font size, so no site can have small text (which is fine with me) and no one is made to shout.

Posted by Seth @ 02/04/2002 04:14PM est

* mozilla, ominweb, and iCab also support min font sizes... don't remember whether opera does or not

Posted by matt @ 02/06/2002 08:27AM est

* Ah, but matt, my point is that if sites didn't *try* to be so $%^#! small, you wouldn't even have to care about such a setting.

Posted by Steve @ 02/06/2002 04:19PM est

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