A minor victory in the battle of the tiny texts
I'm sorry to bang on about tiny website text but a regular reader, Alan Kennedy, emailed this last week: 'I applaud your campaign against fixed text sizes. My pet bugbear is fixed-width pages that can't be read except on a 17in full screen with the sidebars switched off.' The latter is a point to which we will surely return because it also applies to fixedwidth pages that can't be read even on a 19in screen.
He offers a solution that appeared in a recent issue of Internet Advisor - a similar fix appeared in last month's PCPlus. Apparently, this is a problem with Internet Explorer - though not, oddly, the Mac version or the other Windows and Linux browsers - and probably has something to do with cascading style sheets (CSS). Anyway what you do in Explorer is to hit 'Tools' on the top bar, select 'Internet Options' at the bottom of the drop-down menu and, keeping steady on the 'General' tab, go down to the bottom right and click on 'Accessibility'. Click to make the tick appear in the box in front of 'Ignore font sizes specified on web pages'and there, in theory, you have it. But, as Kennedy suggests, 'I would have thought this depended on the way the CSS styles were written. They set up your preferences for colours, fonts, etc, on a site-wide basis'.
I tried it out on some sites recently critiqued in 'Webwatch': M3 Architects at www. m3architects. com and Trehearne Architects at www. trehearne. co. uk.You can at least alter the brief text on the former's opening page, but both use the tiresome device of asking you to click on the box in this book-style title page to get to the real site. This is when the subsequent pages divest themselves of the Explorer menu bars and borders and you can alter absolutely nothing at all.
Still, they'll be writing in about how - yah, boo, sucks - you can't use the above Tools/Options/General/Accessibility technique to alter sites such as Bernard Tschumi's at www. tschumi. com either.
Sadly, they would be right.