Typeface selection in CSS

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Andy Dingley, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    Hypothesis:
    There are two, and only two, appropriate ways to do this in CSS.

    font-family: serif;

    font-family: sans-serif;

    Discuss.



    Systems (with font capability) may be expected to implement these rules
    correctly, with some locally-appropriate choice of default font. Without
    knowing names of local fonts, there's barely any more possible choice
    than this.

    There are a set of fonts that are "likely" to be found on a useful
    proportion of Windows systems. These are no improvement over the
    defaults and aren't worth selecting.

    Comic Sans is likely to be found and identifiable on a significant
    number of systems. The reasons not to use it are aesthetic, not
    technical.

    There is no other way to select a font, given the vagaries of the set
    locally installed. Fighting to choose Trebuchet over Verdana is of
    negligible aesthetic benefit, causes more trouble with sizing
    differences than it solves, and still ignores the non-Windows users.
    Century Schoolbook may well be a better choice than Times Roman for
    solid blocks of body text, but even that level of choice is rarely
    workable.

    Embedded fonts are problematic.

    So as the only practical decision available to the web designer is
    serifs or not, that's all they should attempt to choose. Leave the rest
    to the local system and its defaults.
     
    Andy Dingley, Jun 4, 2005
    #1
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  2. Andy Dingley

    Els Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:

    > Hypothesis:
    > There are two, and only two, appropriate ways to do this in CSS.
    >
    > font-family: serif;
    >
    > font-family: sans-serif;
    >
    > Discuss.
    >
    >
    >
    > Systems (with font capability) may be expected to implement these rules
    > correctly, with some locally-appropriate choice of default font. Without
    > knowing names of local fonts, there's barely any more possible choice
    > than this.
    >
    > There are a set of fonts that are "likely" to be found on a useful
    > proportion of Windows systems. These are no improvement over the
    > defaults and aren't worth selecting.
    >
    > Comic Sans is likely to be found and identifiable on a significant
    > number of systems. The reasons not to use it are aesthetic, not
    > technical.
    >
    > There is no other way to select a font, given the vagaries of the set
    > locally installed. Fighting to choose Trebuchet over Verdana is of
    > negligible aesthetic benefit, causes more trouble with sizing
    > differences than it solves, and still ignores the non-Windows users.
    > Century Schoolbook may well be a better choice than Times Roman for
    > solid blocks of body text, but even that level of choice is rarely
    > workable.
    >
    > Embedded fonts are problematic.
    >
    > So as the only practical decision available to the web designer is
    > serifs or not, that's all they should attempt to choose. Leave the rest
    > to the local system and its defaults.


    Is it enough to say "I disagree with the last paragraph", or should I
    also use arguments to sustain my opinion?

    --
    Els http://locusmeus.com/
    Sonhos vem. Sonhos vão. O resto é imperfeito.
    - Renato Russo -
     
    Els, Jun 4, 2005
    #2
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  3. Andy Dingley

    Toby Inkster Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:

    > There are two, and only two, appropriate ways to do this in CSS.
    > font-family: serif;
    > font-family: sans-serif;


    What about "monospace"?

    The naming of specific fonts in the "font-family" property won't work for
    all of the people, all of the time, but the same can be said of:

    * Javascript
    * CSS
    * Images
    * Publishing on the WWW at all (plenty of people without access)
    * The English Language[1]

    Just use it wisely and provide a decent fall-back.

    ____
    [1] Though it has been estimated that within 10 years, over half of the
    world's population will speak English. (Obviously not as a first language
    in most of the cases!)

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact
     
    Toby Inkster, Jun 4, 2005
    #3
  4. "Toby Inkster" <> skrev i meddelandet
    news:p...
    > Andy Dingley wrote:
    > ____
    > [1] Though it has been estimated that within 10 years, over half of the
    > world's population will speak English. (Obviously not as a first language
    > in most of the cases!)


    How many people will speak Chinese as first language in 10 years?


    --
    Luigi ( un italiano che vive in Svezia)
    https://www.scaiecat-spa-gigi.com/it/svezia.html
     
    Luigi Donatello Asero, Jun 4, 2005
    #4
  5. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Sat, 04 Jun 2005 15:42:47 +0100, Toby Inkster
    <> wrote:

    >What about "monospace"?


    Fair point - add monospace.

    I skipped cursive because I'm not even sure if that has any reasonable
    expectation of default support, beyond the simply illegible.


    >The naming of specific fonts in the "font-family" property won't work for
    >all of the people, all of the time, but the same can be said of:


    The examples you cite have extensive value, and a quite reasonable
    expectation of support. Even JavaScript is usually there, quite robust
    if it is, and can add much value to a page. Requiring a page to be
    minimally useful without it isn;t the same as saying it's so broken we
    may as well not bother.

    My point here is that the only choice you can make with any real
    expectation of success is to suggest Trebuchet or Verdana as
    alternatives to Arial, and have these accepted by most of the users.
    However they add almost nothing to the page (they're poor fonts anyway,
    and they're practically indistinguishable from Arial for most users).
     
    Andy Dingley, Jun 4, 2005
    #5
  6. Andy Dingley

    Toby Inkster Guest

    Luigi Donatello Asero wrote:

    > How many people will speak Chinese as first language in 10 years?


    At a guess, probably about 1.25 billion.

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact
     
    Toby Inkster, Jun 4, 2005
    #6
  7. Andy Dingley

    Toby Inkster Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:

    > Fair point - add monospace.
    > I skipped cursive because I'm not even sure if that has any reasonable
    > expectation of default support, beyond the simply illegible.


    And "fantasy", but does anyone really know what that's supposed to look
    like?

    > The examples you cite have extensive value, and a quite reasonable
    > expectation of support. Even JavaScript is usually there, quite robust
    > if it is, and can add much value to a page.


    According to Codestyle's survey, "Verdana" is installed on 94% of Windows
    systems, 92% of Mac systems and 53% of Unix systems.

    Assuming that 92% of all visitors are using Windows, 5% on Mac and 3% on
    other UNIX-based operating systems, this gives us:
    100% * ( (0.92*0.94) + (0.05*0.92) + (0.03*0.53) ) = 92.67%

    So about 93% of people will notice if you use "font-family: Verdana". I
    would class that as a "quite reasonable expectation of support".

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact
     
    Toby Inkster, Jun 4, 2005
    #7
  8. Andy Dingley

    kchayka Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:
    >
    > There are a set of fonts that are "likely" to be found on a useful
    > proportion of Windows systems. These are no improvement over the
    > defaults and aren't worth selecting.


    Can we count Arial and Verdana in this list? I personally find Arial to
    be one of the uglier fonts around, the reason for its ubiquitousness on
    the web escapes me.

    > So as the only practical decision available to the web designer is
    > serifs or not, that's all they should attempt to choose. Leave the rest
    > to the local system and its defaults.


    Amen to that. It is a pretty rare case where a specific font is actually
    a better choice than a generic serif or sans-serif font. IMO

    --
    Reply email address is a bottomless spam bucket.
    Please reply to the group so everyone can share.
     
    kchayka, Jun 4, 2005
    #8
  9. in comp.infosystems.www.authoring.site-design, Andy Dingley wrote:
    > Hypothesis:
    > There are two, and only two, appropriate ways to do this in CSS.
    >
    > font-family: serif;
    >
    > font-family: sans-serif;
    >
    > Discuss.


    First one is not good IMHO. Latter is worse than none, but not that much
    (when user prefers something else - generic sans-serif is either verdana
    or arial, neither of is very nice sans font for webbrowsing...).

    serif is as bad as TNR - will screw up anyone that has selected Arial or
    other similar sans font to be default, as it easily gets unreadable on
    sizes sans fonts are still OK. (Sure 0.001% of people have adjusted serif
    to something comparable, but some might use some nicer and even less
    readable serif...)

    > Systems (with font capability) may be expected to implement these rules
    > correctly, with some locally-appropriate choice of default font. Without
    > knowing names of local fonts, there's barely any more possible choice
    > than this.


    Not really. IIRC, IE4 and early IE5 had lots of problems with generic
    font-families.

    > Comic Sans is likely to be found and identifiable on a significant
    > number of systems. The reasons not to use it are aesthetic, not
    > technical.


    It is suitable for headings and stuff, just like almost any other font.

    IMO, generic font family is just as bad as any other font family for body
    text. It is practically always TNR or Arial anyway, and when not is more
    something horrible than something better.

    My conclusion:
    1. for body text font, do absolute nothing
    2. for headers, do what you want, as long as you don't use generic
    families exept sans-serif...
    3. for monospace, use appropiate HTML element, and don't use generic
    monospace without good reason, it will use courier far too likely, which
    is bad as courier is not always TTF...




    --
    Lauri Raittila <http://www.iki.fi/lr> <http://www.iki.fi/zwak/fonts>
    Utrecht, NL.
    Support me, buy Opera:
    https://secure.bmtmicro.com/opera/buy-opera.html?AID=882173
     
    Lauri Raittila, Jun 4, 2005
    #9
  10. Andy Dingley

    kchayka Guest

    Lauri Raittila wrote:
    >
    > generic sans-serif is either verdana or arial,


    Not in my browser, it isn't. And even if it were, it then makes no
    difference between:

    font-family: sans-serif;
    and
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;

    However, with the former, at least the user may get something better
    than Arial.

    > 1. for body text font, do absolute nothing


    That is actually my first choice as well, except sometimes either serif
    or sans-serif goes better with the overall design and/or logo.

    --
    Reply email address is a bottomless spam bucket.
    Please reply to the group so everyone can share.
     
    kchayka, Jun 4, 2005
    #10
  11. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Sat, 04 Jun 2005 17:45:51 +0100, Toby Inkster
    <> wrote:

    >
    >So about 93% of people will notice if you use "font-family: Verdana". I
    >would class that as a "quite reasonable expectation of support".


    Read my last paragraph.

    It's likely to be supported, just not a useful font to choose.
     
    Andy Dingley, Jun 5, 2005
    #11
  12. On Sat, 4 Jun 2005, Toby Inkster wrote:

    > According to Codestyle's survey, "Verdana" is installed on 94% of Windows
    > systems, 92% of Mac systems and 53% of Unix systems.


    So the problem explored at
    http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/verdana.html
    is even *more* prevalent than I assumed.

    That gives us yet more reason *not* to specify Verdana in an author
    stylesheet.

    I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in the
    privacy of their own browser, and at a size of their choosing (as long
    as misguided authors don't go and overrule it...)

    I'm talking basically about body text here, mind you.
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Jun 6, 2005
    #12
  13. Andy Dingley

    Toby Inkster Guest

    Toby Inkster, Jun 6, 2005
    #13
  14. Andy Dingley

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >That gives us yet more reason *not* to specify Verdana in an author
    >stylesheet.
    >
    >I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in the
    >privacy of their own browser, and at a size of their choosing


    User setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.
    Author setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.
    Result: Verdana reduced in size by a factor 2xY = microfont.

    The same thing but somewhat less drastic happens when using most other
    sans serif fonts as the user font.

    To avoid this, specifying a sans serif font as the user preferred font
    should be accompanied with a browser minimum font size setting equal to
    what the user wants to see as the body font size.

    This in turn prevents non body text from being displayed at a reduced
    size which results in losing the ability to de-emphasize text. For
    example I like my body text displayed in Verdana @ 13px, but I can
    comfortably read Verdana down to 10px. Due to the necessary minimum font
    size setting of 13px I see content that has appropriately been sized
    down at the bigger size of 13px. This makes it harder to distinguish
    body text from for example side bar/panel content.

    Many find TNR and most other serif fonts not pleasant to read on screen
    @ the typical body text size. I'm sympathetic to authors who want to
    suggest a sans serif font for their sites for the many users that don't
    change the default font in their browsers. Some suggest that authors
    should not do that and that they should instead show the user how to
    change the font locally. This I consider bad advice, a IE user cannot
    specify a minimum font size.

    --
    Spartanicus
     
    Spartanicus, Jun 6, 2005
    #14
  15. On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, Spartanicus wrote:

    > >I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in the
    > >privacy of their own browser, and at a size of their choosing

    >
    > User setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.


    Sorry, that doesn't rhyme. The user's choice is the user's choice.
    It isn't "reduced" by anything. Sure: it's likely to be a smaller
    choice than they would have made if they'd used some other font. But
    it's still their choice.

    > Author setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.


    User's defence: the minimum font size setting (in a good browser), or
    the "ignore author font settings" in the operating system component
    that thinks it's a web browser.

    Result: author loses essentially *all* the control that they were
    trying so hard to impose.

    > Result: Verdana reduced in size by a factor 2xY = microfont.


    (On the basis of what you were hypothesising, that would be Y*Y,
    actually.)

    > Many find TNR and most other serif fonts not pleasant to read on
    > screen @ the typical body text size.


    Things are slowly improving. Some years back we could confidently say
    that although, on a nicely printed page, serif fonts were acknowledged
    to be better, nevertheless on a computer screen the greater
    readability of sans fonts at low resolution meant that they were the
    natural choice for screen display.

    But considerable improvements have been made both in display
    resolution and in rendering technology, so it's undergoing a
    changeover, the way that it seems to me.

    [...]
    > This I consider bad advice, a IE user cannot
    > specify a minimum font size.


    Tools> Internet Options> General> Accessibility

    [/] "Ignore font sizes specified on web pages"

    (Various other options available there.)

    Now I can confidently sit back and wait for the usual chorus of
    "IE users never change anything".

    The puzzle is this. Those folks keep claiming that IE users browse in
    fullscreen mode, but I've never seen an IE installation that wasn't
    windowed at installation time. If IE users really *do* never change
    anything, as they keep claiming, then clearly that can never happen.
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Jun 6, 2005
    #15
  16. Andy Dingley

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >> >I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in the
    >> >privacy of their own browser, and at a size of their choosing

    >>
    >> User setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.

    >
    >Sorry, that doesn't rhyme. The user's choice is the user's choice.
    >It isn't "reduced" by anything. Sure: it's likely to be a smaller
    >choice than they would have made if they'd used some other font. But
    >it's still their choice.


    You're right. Another attempt: Authors often specify a size reduction of
    Verdana based on the usual pre configured browser serif font, often TNR
    @ 16px. Configuring Verdana as the user preferred font @ a smaller size
    like 13px therefore results in microfonts for the user on such sites if
    no additional measures are taken.

    That conflicts with your unreserved endorsement of Verdana as a user
    font. Verdana causes as much or more difficulties when used as a user
    font.

    >> Author setting: Verdana reduced in size by a factor Y.

    >
    >User's defence: the minimum font size setting (in a good browser)


    That possible option does not nullify the drawbacks that result from
    using Verdana, if it did then you'd might as well say that there are no
    issues with author suggested reduced Verdana body fonts.

    Using Verdana as the user font with a minimum font size setting on the
    www often causes it's own set of problems like text breaking out of it's
    container, or overlapping text, even on relatively well coded sites,
    example: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/spartanicus/verdana_trouble.png

    >, or
    >the "ignore author font settings" in the operating system component
    >that thinks it's a web browser.


    That causes even more problems on www sites than using Verdana as a user
    font with a minimum font size.

    Leaving the browser's font setting at the pre configured serif font
    prevents these problems. This is why it's imo bad form to simply advise
    users to configure their browser font and size to something they like.

    >> Many find TNR and most other serif fonts not pleasant to read on
    >> screen @ the typical body text size.

    >
    >Things are slowly improving. Some years back we could confidently say
    >that although, on a nicely printed page, serif fonts were acknowledged
    >to be better, nevertheless on a computer screen the greater
    >readability of sans fonts at low resolution meant that they were the
    >natural choice for screen display.
    >
    >But considerable improvements have been made both in display
    >resolution and in rendering technology, so it's undergoing a
    >changeover, the way that it seems to me.


    Increasing screen resolution causes yet more issues. Current mainstream
    OSs use bitmapped UI widgets, these shrink on a higher resolution
    screen. As a result the number of screens on the market with a
    resolution higher than ~100PPI is very limited. I've used a 148PPI
    laptop, using it was a royal pain due to this problem.

    If by "improvement rendering technology" you are referring to anti
    aliasing of fonts, this can only be achieved by enlarging the text. It
    may look nice, but at the expense of efficient use of screen real
    estate. I continue to prefer the smaller non anti aliased normal text
    and UI fonts used by Windows systems to the bigger anti aliased fonts
    that can be generated by for example Linux.

    --
    Spartanicus
     
    Spartanicus, Jun 7, 2005
    #16
  17. On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Spartanicus wrote:

    > "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:
    >
    > >> >I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in the
    > >> >privacy of their own browser, and at a size of their choosing

    [..]
    > Authors often specify a size reduction of
    > Verdana based on the usual pre configured browser serif font, often TNR
    > @ 16px. Configuring Verdana as the user preferred font @ a smaller size
    > like 13px therefore results in microfonts for the user on such sites if
    > no additional measures are taken.
    >
    > That conflicts with your unreserved endorsement of Verdana as a user
    > font.


    "Unreserved"? Let's not go overboard ;-) I haven't chosen it
    myself...

    But I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in
    the privacy of their own browser, and *at a size of their choosing*

    > Verdana causes as much or more difficulties when used as a user
    > font.


    There can be knock-on effects if the author's sizing leaks through,
    it's true.

    [...]
    > >the "ignore author font settings" in the operating system component
    > >that thinks it's a web browser.

    >
    > That causes even more problems on www sites than using Verdana as a
    > user font with a minimum font size.


    Often because the author was trying to impose a fixed layout instead
    of adapting to flexible design. Well, that may mean having to disable
    yet more of the author's style for successful results. Some
    over-designed sites are actually easier to use on Lynx than on the
    author's intended browser.

    > >But considerable improvements have been made both in display
    > >resolution and in rendering technology, so it's undergoing a
    > >changeover, the way that it seems to me.

    >
    > Increasing screen resolution causes yet more issues.


    Indeed it does, but solutions are inevitable, since the problem is
    increasingly widespread. MS already offers a half-cocked solution
    with lots of ifs and buts - presumably they'll be improving it over
    time.

    > Current mainstream OSs use bitmapped UI widgets, these shrink on a
    > higher resolution screen. As a result the number of screens on the
    > market with a resolution higher than ~100PPI is very limited. I've
    > used a 148PPI laptop, using it was a royal pain due to this problem.


    As one data point, my office PC works at about 135dpi.

    But font size (on a www-compatible browser) isn't the same as
    bitmapped images and widgets. Of course I'm assuming that a competent
    web designer would be sizing text in em or % units, not in px or pt
    units or equivalent.

    > If by "improvement rendering technology" you are referring to anti
    > aliasing of fonts,


    primarily - and hinting (I'm no expert in font technologies)

    > this can only be achieved by enlarging the text.


    At higher dpi values, a given displayed size of text will have a
    higher resolution, that's the point.

    cheers
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Jun 8, 2005
    #17
  18. Andy Dingley

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >> That conflicts with your unreserved endorsement of Verdana as a user
    >> font.

    >
    >"Unreserved"? Let's not go overboard ;-) I haven't chosen it
    >myself...


    "perfectly fine choice" with no mention of the problems that are likely
    to result from that choice sounds like an unreserved endorsement to me.

    >But I'm sure it's a perfectly fine choice for an individual to make in
    >the privacy of their own browser, and *at a size of their choosing*


    Not if that choice of size is anything less than what the user would
    chose for a serif font. Verdana is a "perfectly fine choice" as an
    author font also, provided that it isn't sized at anything less than
    100%, but we all know that people rarely do that. A similar thing
    happens when users configure Verdana as a user font.

    >> >But considerable improvements have been made both in display
    >> >resolution and in rendering technology, so it's undergoing a
    >> >changeover, the way that it seems to me.

    >>
    >> Increasing screen resolution causes yet more issues.

    >
    >Indeed it does, but solutions are inevitable, since the problem is
    >increasingly widespread.


    The topic was most people finding serif fonts not pleasant to look at on
    the average screen, that issue isn't on the increase.

    >MS already offers a half-cocked solution
    >with lots of ifs and buts - presumably they'll be improving it over
    >time.


    What are you trying to achieve with this obscurity?

    >> Current mainstream OSs use bitmapped UI widgets, these shrink on a
    >> higher resolution screen. As a result the number of screens on the
    >> market with a resolution higher than ~100PPI is very limited. I've
    >> used a 148PPI laptop, using it was a royal pain due to this problem.

    >
    >As one data point, my office PC works at about 135dpi.


    That's most unusual if it's not a laptop.

    People using CRT monitors often calculate the PPI value based on a the
    physical screen dimensions and the desktop screen area setting in the
    OS. It's easy to make a mistake with that calculation since the
    resolution of a CRT has an upper limit imposed by the granularity of the
    phosphor clusters.

    >But font size (on a www-compatible browser) isn't the same as
    >bitmapped images and widgets.


    No-one is claiming that it is, you suggested that screen resolution was
    increasing and that therefore the problem of displaying serif fonts @
    body size was getting better. I see no substantial increase in screen
    resolution (in PPI) in new screens. I pointed out that current OSs using
    fixed size bitmapped widgets is one of the reasons why.

    --
    Spartanicus
     
    Spartanicus, Jun 8, 2005
    #18
  19. On Wed, 8 Jun 2005, Spartanicus wrote:

    > >> Increasing screen resolution causes yet more issues.

    > >
    > >Indeed it does, but solutions are inevitable, since the problem is
    > >increasingly widespread.

    >
    > The topic was most people finding serif fonts not pleasant to look at on
    > the average screen, that issue isn't on the increase.


    I'd argue that "the average screen" is not a constant. It's evolving.
    What my little great-niece uses today is far better than what I used
    myself professionally some years ago.

    > >MS already offers a half-cocked solution
    > >with lots of ifs and buts - presumably they'll be improving it over
    > >time.

    >
    > What are you trying to achieve with this obscurity?


    Are you asking for a link?

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/author/dhtml/overview/highdpi.asp

    "Adjusting Scale for Higher DPI Screens"

    > >As one data point, my office PC works at about 135dpi.

    >
    > That's most unusual if it's not a laptop.


    A professional 17inch CRT display, set to 1600x1200

    This is quite a normal setting around here (not imposed by me - chosen
    by our users).

    > People using CRT monitors often calculate the PPI value based on a
    > the physical screen dimensions and the desktop screen area setting
    > in the OS.


    I'm talking about increments of the display system as measured against
    an actual physical ruler (and confirmed by the calibration in the OS).

    > It's easy to make a mistake with that calculation since the
    > resolution of a CRT has an upper limit imposed by the granularity of the
    > phosphor clusters.


    If there's any "mistake" here it's a misunderstanding about the terms
    in use. Read on...

    > No-one is claiming that it is, you suggested that screen resolution
    > was increasing and that therefore the problem of displaying serif
    > fonts @ body size was getting better.


    There was a time when most people seemed to have their displays set at
    around 72dpi. This is rarely the case now, I think it's fair to say.

    Standard TFTs seem to be made for about 95dpi, but as you've said
    yourself, there are some which are signficantly higher (albeit you say
    you only met them on laptops).

    There are indeed two effects, one is the user-chosen display setting
    (which is primarily what I was talking about at the time) and the
    other, as you rightly point out, is the inherent resolution of the
    display itself. Both of them contribute to the final effect. Sure,
    there are differences between CRTs and TFTs. With TFTs I'd normally
    set to the inherent resolution of the display. With CRTs there's no
    harm (and we perceive some benefit) in setting the display system to
    somewhat higher values than the inherent physical resolution.

    > I see no substantial increase in screen resolution (in PPI) in new
    > screens.


    Not that I would take MS's word as gospel, but they evidently thought
    it was important enough to implement some kind of a solution, as
    already mentioned.

    Fortunately, with flexible design techniques, much of this variability
    can take care of itself. The only losers are those who continue to
    insist that they have to control the final result so hard that it
    hurts.
     
    Alan J. Flavell, Jun 8, 2005
    #19
  20. Andy Dingley

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Alan J. Flavell" <> wrote:

    >> >> Increasing screen resolution causes yet more issues.
    >> >
    >> >Indeed it does, but solutions are inevitable, since the problem is
    >> >increasingly widespread.

    >>
    >> The topic was most people finding serif fonts not pleasant to look at on
    >> the average screen, that issue isn't on the increase.

    >
    >I'd argue that "the average screen" is not a constant. It's evolving.
    >What my little great-niece uses today is far better than what I used
    >myself professionally some years ago.
    >
    >> >MS already offers a half-cocked solution
    >> >with lots of ifs and buts - presumably they'll be improving it over
    >> >time.

    >>
    >> What are you trying to achieve with this obscurity?

    >
    >Are you asking for a link?


    Did you expect anyone to know what you were talking about based on what
    you wrote?

    >http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/author/dhtml/overview/highdpi.asp
    >
    >"Adjusting Scale for Higher DPI Screens"


    The above referenced MS method only to some extent affects the content
    displayed in a web browser viewport. The issues resulting from higher
    resolution screens affect everything displayed on screen, which is why I
    brought up OS UI widgets. It is an issue that needs to be tackled by the
    OS, not by individual applications, and certainly not just for their
    document rendering space. Tackling the issue definitively would require
    a fundamental change in the way that UI widgets are defined and
    rendered.

    >> >As one data point, my office PC works at about 135dpi.

    >>
    >> That's most unusual if it's not a laptop.

    >
    >A professional 17inch CRT display, set to 1600x1200
    >
    >This is quite a normal setting around here (not imposed by me - chosen
    >by our users).
    >
    >> People using CRT monitors often calculate the PPI value based on a
    >> the physical screen dimensions and the desktop screen area setting
    >> in the OS.

    >
    >I'm talking about increments of the display system as measured against
    >an actual physical ruler (and confirmed by the calibration in the OS).


    A "calibration in the OS" cannot reliably establish the actual
    resolution of a CRT viewing device since it does not take into account
    the granularity of the phosphor clusters.

    Most, if not all CRT monitors can handle screen area settings that
    exceed the capability of the CRT by a considerable margin.

    >> It's easy to make a mistake with that calculation since the
    >> resolution of a CRT has an upper limit imposed by the granularity of the
    >> phosphor clusters.

    >
    >If there's any "mistake" here it's a misunderstanding about the terms
    >in use. Read on...
    >
    >> No-one is claiming that it is, you suggested that screen resolution
    >> was increasing and that therefore the problem of displaying serif
    >> fonts @ body size was getting better.

    >
    >There was a time when most people seemed to have their displays set at
    >around 72dpi. This is rarely the case now, I think it's fair to say.
    >
    >Standard TFTs seem to be made for about 95dpi, but as you've said
    >yourself, there are some which are signficantly higher (albeit you say
    >you only met them on laptops).
    >
    >There are indeed two effects, one is the user-chosen display setting
    >(which is primarily what I was talking about at the time) and the
    >other, as you rightly point out, is the inherent resolution of the
    >display itself. Both of them contribute to the final effect. Sure,
    >there are differences between CRTs and TFTs. With TFTs I'd normally
    >set to the inherent resolution of the display. With CRTs there's no
    >harm (and we perceive some benefit) in setting the display system to
    >somewhat higher values than the inherent physical resolution.


    There is no inherent physical resolution for CRT monitors, they have a
    *maximum* resolution imposed by the CRT. If the screen area setting is
    lower than that maximum value, then that is the resolution you get.

    There most definitely is harm in setting the screen area setting at a
    value beyond what the CRT can display, information is lost when you do
    that. This may not be apparent by judging the result on esthetics, in
    fact it may even appear to be more pleasing to the eye, but you are
    deluding yourself.

    >> I see no substantial increase in screen resolution (in PPI) in new
    >> screens.

    >
    >Not that I would take MS's word as gospel, but they evidently thought
    >it was important enough to implement some kind of a solution, as
    >already mentioned.
    >
    >Fortunately, with flexible design techniques, much of this variability
    >can take care of itself.


    The issue of considerable variations in screen resolution has a profound
    effect not only on the requirements for OS UI widgets, but on all
    current bitmapped resources including bitmapped web content. This
    potential issue will not "take care of itself".

    If by "flexible design techniques" you are referring to variations in
    user viewport size and that content should adapt to it, then this is an
    entirely different topic.

    --
    Spartanicus
     
    Spartanicus, Jun 8, 2005
    #20
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