Out-of-the-box Browser font settings

Discussion in 'HTML' started by dorayme, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. dorayme

    dorayme Guest

    Can you remember what was set for font *size* in your various
    browsers when you first downloaded them or got them on your
    original installs?

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jul 6, 2011
    #1
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  2. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    dorayme wrote:
    > Can you remember what was set for font *size* in your various
    > browsers when you first downloaded them or got them on your
    > original installs?
    >

    I don't recall any specific value for text size, but the general settings in
    older browsers was "medium" for IE and is unspecified in, for example FF5,
    but can be "zoomed" in either direction, so I presume it's equivalent to
    "medium" as well.

    --
    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 7, 2011
    #2
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  3. dorayme

    dorayme Guest

    In article <iv48er$iki$>,
    "Neil Gould" <> wrote:

    > dorayme wrote:
    > > Can you remember what was set for font *size* in your various
    > > browsers when you first downloaded them or got them on your
    > > original installs?
    > >

    > I don't recall any specific value for text size, but the general settings in
    > older browsers was "medium" for IE and is unspecified in, for example FF5,
    > but can be "zoomed" in either direction, so I presume it's equivalent to
    > "medium" as well.


    You are right about WinIE, the specific pixel or point size can
    be worked out but it is not transparently offered as a number as
    in other browsers.

    <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/pics/textSize_
    ie.png>

    (from IE 8)

    In FF, Safari, iCab, there are specific settings.

    I know many of my own browsers are set to 16 for most reading
    fonts but I forget if I set them or they came that way and they
    suited me! The mozilla url on the page at the url below is a
    small clue that maybe they come that way. I guess (just noticed
    this).

    Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    together, a draft of which is at

    <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    >


    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jul 7, 2011
    #3
  4. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    dorayme wrote:
    > In article <iv48er$iki$>,
    > "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    >
    >> dorayme wrote:
    >>> Can you remember what was set for font *size* in your various
    >>> browsers when you first downloaded them or got them on your
    >>> original installs?
    >>>

    >> I don't recall any specific value for text size, but the general
    >> settings in older browsers was "medium" for IE and is unspecified
    >> in, for example FF5, but can be "zoomed" in either direction, so I
    >> presume it's equivalent to "medium" as well.

    >
    > You are right about WinIE, the specific pixel or point size can
    > be worked out but it is not transparently offered as a number as
    > in other browsers.
    >
    > <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/pics/textSize_
    > ie.png>
    >
    > (from IE 8)
    >
    > In FF, Safari, iCab, there are specific settings.
    >
    > I know many of my own browsers are set to 16 for most reading
    > fonts but I forget if I set them or they came that way and they
    > suited me! The mozilla url on the page at the url below is a
    > small clue that maybe they come that way. I guess (just noticed
    > this).
    >

    My FF5s are set to 16, and because I didn't bother to change them I presume
    they came that way. I wonder what that "16" would mean, anyway? Like an
    amplifier that can be turned up to 11, I think it's a relative figure that
    will not have an absolute physical size representation due to such things as
    the size, pixel resolution and font rendering methods of the users' monitor
    and video subsystem.

    > Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    > together, a draft of which is at
    >
    > <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    >

    Well, your page taps into one of my beefs with CSS-based styling. No matter
    how well-crafted, only the simplest of page layouts can avoid being trashed
    by user settings. Perhaps an idea from early web days may still be useful...
    have a button that redirects users with special needs to another version of
    the site.

    --
    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 7, 2011
    #4
  5. dorayme

    dorayme Guest

    In article <iv4dqj$vs2$>,
    "Neil Gould" <> wrote:

    > dorayme wrote:
    > > In article <iv48er$iki$>,
    > > "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    > >
    > >> dorayme wrote:

    ....
    > > I know many of my own browsers are set to 16 for most reading
    > > fonts but I forget if I set them or they came that way and they
    > > suited me! The mozilla url on the page at the url below is a
    > > small clue that maybe they come that way. I guess (just noticed
    > > this).
    > >

    > My FF5s are set to 16, and because I didn't bother to change them I presume
    > they came that way. I wonder what that "16" would mean, anyway? Like an
    > amplifier that can be turned up to 11, I think it's a relative figure that
    > will not have an absolute physical size representation due to such things as
    > the size, pixel resolution and font rendering methods of the users' monitor
    > and video subsystem.
    >


    I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.

    > > Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    > > together, a draft of which is at
    > >
    > > <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    > >

    > Well, your page taps into one of my beefs with CSS-based styling. No matter
    > how well-crafted, only the simplest of page layouts can avoid being trashed
    > by user settings.


    Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by simplest.

    > Perhaps an idea from early web days may still be useful...
    > have a button that redirects users with special needs to another version of
    > the site.


    Now and then, this is probably not too bad an idea but we should
    aim not to need to do this. However, there is such a bad sticking
    point in the practical web world about the size of body text that
    I am wondering now if it is not actually a good idea to at least
    give a a button for a couple of sizes, one for normal as in user
    preferences and one for 20% less to shut people up - like bosses
    and clients and stop them winging! <g>

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jul 8, 2011
    #5
  6. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    dorayme wrote:
    > In article <iv4dqj$vs2$>,
    > "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    >
    >> dorayme wrote:
    >>> In article <iv48er$iki$>,
    >>> "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> dorayme wrote:

    > ...
    >>> I know many of my own browsers are set to 16 for most reading
    >>> fonts but I forget if I set them or they came that way and they
    >>> suited me! The mozilla url on the page at the url below is a
    >>> small clue that maybe they come that way. I guess (just noticed
    >>> this).
    >>>

    >> My FF5s are set to 16, and because I didn't bother to change them I
    >> presume they came that way. I wonder what that "16" would mean,
    >> anyway? Like an amplifier that can be turned up to 11, I think it's
    >> a relative figure that will not have an absolute physical size
    >> representation due to such things as the size, pixel resolution and
    >> font rendering methods of the users' monitor and video subsystem.
    >>

    >
    > I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    > happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.
    >

    Or, it's a number that has nothing to do with pixels or anything else; 16
    pixels on a monitor with a vertical screen size of 15" and vertical
    resolution of 1500 would render medium fonts 0.16" high. But, since I can
    read it, I'm pretty sure that's not happening! ;-)

    >>> Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    >>> together, a draft of which is at
    >>>
    >>> <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    >>>

    >> Well, your page taps into one of my beefs with CSS-based styling. No
    >> matter how well-crafted, only the simplest of page layouts can avoid
    >> being trashed by user settings.

    >
    > Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by simplest.
    >

    Full width, single-column, simple div parameters, etc.

    >> Perhaps an idea from early web days may still be useful...
    >> have a button that redirects users with special needs to another
    >> version of the site.

    >
    > Now and then, this is probably not too bad an idea but we should
    > aim not to need to do this.
    >

    Well, it's a down-side to the generalized markup approach that has plagued
    presentation since SGML days, but at least then someone had to access a
    common DTD to render a document. It might be one reason why people prefer
    one browser over another, but IMO all browsers suck at rendering something
    or other, and user settings can make things completely unreadable.

    --
    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 8, 2011
    #6
  7. On Fri, 08 Jul 2011 16:37:37 +1000, dorayme wrote:
    > ... - like bosses and clients and stop them winging! <g>


    Do you have much of an issue with them flying about your head? :)

    Ya, I sometimes do, too.

    Jonesy
     
    Allodoxaphobia, Jul 8, 2011
    #7
  8. Neil Gould wrote:

    > dorayme wrote:


    >> I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    >> > happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.
    >> >

    > Or, it's a number that has nothing to do with pixels or anything else; 16
    > pixels on a monitor with a vertical screen size of 15" and vertical
    > resolution of 1500 would render medium fonts 0.16" high. But, since I can
    > read it, I'm pretty sure that's not happening!;-)
    >


    It means pixels. You can confirm it by changing the value and then
    checking the "computed style" with DOM Inspector

    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
     
    Jonathan N. Little, Jul 8, 2011
    #8
  9. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    Hi Johnathan,

    Jonathan N. Little wrote:
    > Neil Gould wrote:
    >
    > > dorayme wrote:

    >
    >>> I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    >>>> happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.
    >>>>

    >> Or, it's a number that has nothing to do with pixels or anything
    >> else; 16 pixels on a monitor with a vertical screen size of 15" and
    >> vertical resolution of 1500 would render medium fonts 0.16" high.
    >> But, since I can read it, I'm pretty sure that's not happening!;-)
    >>

    >
    > It means pixels. You can confirm it by changing the value and then
    > checking the "computed style" with DOM Inspector
    >

    I'm not all that familiar with DOM inspector. Where is the "computed style"
    option?

    --
    best regards,

    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 8, 2011
    #9
  10. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    Neil Gould wrote:
    > Hi Johnathan,
    >

    Sorry about misspelling your name... I know too many people named "John",
    and my fingers went into auto-type mode...

    --
    best regards,

    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 8, 2011
    #10
  11. Jonathan N. Little, Jul 8, 2011
    #11
  12. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    Hi Jonathan,

    Jonathan N. Little wrote:
    > Neil Gould wrote:
    >
    >> I'm not all that familiar with DOM inspector. Where is the "computed
    >> style" option?
    >>

    >
    > Picture worth a thousand words
    >
    > http://www.littleworksstudio.com/temp/usenet/computedstyle.jpg
    >

    Thanks for the pointer. Food for thought...

    --
    best regards,

    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 9, 2011
    #12
  13. dorayme

    dorayme Guest

    In article <iv6oif$b63$>,
    "Neil Gould" <> wrote:

    ....
    > >>>> dorayme wrote:

    > > ...
    > >
    > > I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    > > happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.
    > >

    > Or, it's a number that has nothing to do with pixels or anything else;


    It must have to do with something! What probably is confusing is
    that if you look at this or that character, it is hard to see how
    *16* comes into it (no matter that there are *reports* of it
    being resolved to 16px (as Jonathan has said). What is 16px is,
    very roughly, the box in which the character is designed, taking
    into account that different characters (the black bits in black
    coloured letters like a, A, AAcute, y and so on) are different in
    height and they all need to line up neatly and so the measure of
    the characters height is some standard box for them all, the
    boxes being line-upable and stackable. This box, you will find,
    is mostly 16px for browsers that give unitless 16 in their
    pref/options.

    There are some complications in demonstrating this but you can
    get close if you attend to line-height (setting it - as against
    defaults - to 1) and also, noting that not all letters in all
    font families will quite stay in their character boxes, some of
    them are a bit like those cartoon characters that burst out of
    their frames (there was one I recall, I think it was Little No No
    and Sniffy where some character wanted to see what was outside
    its world).


    > 16
    > pixels on a monitor with a vertical screen size of 15" and vertical
    > resolution of 1500 would render medium fonts 0.16" high. But, since I can
    > read it, I'm pretty sure that's not happening! ;-)
    >
    > >>> Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    > >>> together, a draft of which is at
    > >>>
    > >>> <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    > >>>
    > >> Well, your page taps into one of my beefs with CSS-based styling. No
    > >> matter how well-crafted, only the simplest of page layouts can avoid
    > >> being trashed by user settings.

    > >
    > > Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by simplest.
    > >

    > Full width, single-column, simple div parameters, etc.
    >

    My above draft is not exactly "Full width, single-column, simple
    div parameters" but you are saying it is easily scrambled by user
    settings? That's a worry for me!

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jul 10, 2011
    #13
  14. dorayme

    Neil Gould Guest

    dorayme wrote:
    > In article <iv6oif$b63$>,
    > "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    >
    > ...
    >>>>>> dorayme wrote:
    >>> ...
    >>>
    >>> I think it just means pixels. But maybe you are right and it
    >>> happens to be pixels without quite meaning it.
    >>>

    >> Or, it's a number that has nothing to do with pixels or anything
    >> else;

    >
    > It must have to do with something! What probably is confusing is
    > that if you look at this or that character, it is hard to see how
    > *16* comes into it (no matter that there are *reports* of it
    > being resolved to 16px (as Jonathan has said).
    >

    My thought is that the numbers *may* have had something to do with pixels,
    based on the original Mac / Mac + screen that was 72 ppi, which made 72 pt
    type about 1" on-screen. But, that's a stretch, and even Apple dropped that
    folly early-on.

    > What is 16px is,
    > very roughly, the box in which the character is designed, taking
    > into account that different characters (the black bits in black
    > coloured letters like a, A, AAcute, y and so on) are different in
    > height and they all need to line up neatly and so the measure of
    > the characters height is some standard box for them all, the
    > boxes being line-upable and stackable.
    >

    I agree with you that the pixel settings determine the height of the
    character set, but perhaps it's the ex height rather than the absolute
    height.

    > This box, you will find,
    > is mostly 16px for browsers that give unitless 16 in their
    > pref/options.
    >

    That may be... but I'm still skeptical about the pixel thing being absolute.
    The browser will presumably send the same instructions in any installation,
    but fonts are ultimately rendered by the video subsystem and monitor.

    >>>>> Just got to wondering about it for a page I am cobbling to
    >>>>> together, a draft of which is at
    >>>>>
    >>>>> <http://dorayme.netweaver.com.au/differentEyesights/textSpill.html
    >>>>>
    >>>> Well, your page taps into one of my beefs with CSS-based styling.
    >>>> No matter how well-crafted, only the simplest of page layouts can
    >>>> avoid being trashed by user settings.
    >>>
    >>> Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by simplest.
    >>>

    >> Full width, single-column, simple div parameters, etc.
    >>

    > My above draft is not exactly "Full width, single-column, simple
    > div parameters" but you are saying it is easily scrambled by user
    > settings? That's a worry for me!
    >

    Well, your pages are better than most. ;-)

    But, you don't need to get to the extremes in FF settings to see that your
    presentational intent can be altered by those settings, and there are other
    video settings available to the user beyond the browser that will complicate
    things even further. My question is, how much should we worry about such
    things?

    --
    Neil
     
    Neil Gould, Jul 10, 2011
    #14
  15. dorayme

    dorayme Guest

    In article <ivas5a$v12$>,
    "Neil Gould" <> wrote:

    > dorayme wrote:
    > > In article <iv6oif$b63$>,
    > > "Neil Gould" <> wrote:
    > >
    > > ...
    > >>>>>> dorayme wrote:

    ....
    >
    > > What is 16px is,
    > > very roughly, the box in which the character is designed, taking
    > > into account that different characters (the black bits in black
    > > coloured letters like a, A, AAcute, y and so on) are different in
    > > height and they all need to line up neatly and so the measure of
    > > the characters height is some standard box for them all, the
    > > boxes being line-upable and stackable.
    > >

    > I agree with you that the pixel settings determine the height of the
    > character set, but perhaps it's the ex height rather than the absolute
    > height.
    >


    Not sure what absolute height means in this context except it
    cannot mean inches or ruler measurements of course. When I said
    that fonts are designed in boxes I was drawing attention to the
    height and, given that fonts are scalable, their box heights can
    be scaled to 16px and that this is what browsers are generally
    doing.

    > > This box, you will find,
    > > is mostly 16px for browsers that give unitless 16 in their
    > > pref/options.
    > >

    > That may be... but I'm still skeptical about the pixel thing being absolute.



    I don't think anyone is saying that a pixel is an absolute
    invariant, rulerwise from screen to screen. But once anyone uses
    a monitor, at the settings it has, there are pixels, smallest
    screen atoms, often identical with identifiable hardware
    components or built by the hardware components by software into
    bigger units, these units being the pixels. Whatever they are set
    at, no matter how big or small, the idea of a 16px font-size is
    the idea that the character box will be 16px high. Roughly this.
    Absolute units do not much come into the matter.


    > The browser will presumably send the same instructions in any installation,
    > but fonts are ultimately rendered by the video subsystem and monitor.
    >


    Certainly, instructing a monitor to display a character box at
    16px does not entail any particular inch size because it is
    relative to the size of a pixel. Pixels can be any inch size at
    all, depending on the hardware and display software.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jul 10, 2011
    #15
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