SCoPE Seminar: Accessibility of eLearning: December 4 - 17, 2006

Do and Don't Do

Re: Enable content to wrap

by Christie Mason -
Number of replies: 0
I find it odd that the same people who would recoil in horror at using static, px, font sizes have no hesitation in recommending static, px, sizes for screen/div widths. As long as *some* have different preferences and needs, then the best idea is to not assume something as *all*.  Less is better.  Less format control means more people will be able to access and use the content.

I really hesitated to post the link to the line width article because
  1. It's old - 2002 is old in eTime.
  2. It's stating CPL which is a print unit of measurement.(So is em but at least em is used as an online measurement and it resizes well).
  3. It doesn't say what monitor sizes were used at what resolution.
  4. It doesn't say what colors where used or even if it was white text on black background or black on white (many people "assume" that dark text is best but several informal tests by web designers have shown that preferences are almost evenly split.  Does anyone remember using a CRT? They were all light text on dark backgrounds. DOS/Command Prompt still presents white text on a black background)
  5. It doesn't say what font was used
  6. It doesn't say what font size is being used
  7. It doesn't say how many characters were in a paragraph - short or  bulleted is best online, not long wordy paragraphs
  8. It doesn't say what line spacing was used
  9. It doesn't say what level of language is being used (did they use the same text for young and old? 18 - 61 is too wide of a range to determine *all* preferences.  Different decades have different exposure rates to different media.)
  10. It doesn't say if the study used people who read text on monitors often, or never before. (*I* have never liked print materials with 1 - 1.5" white space on each side but that's been a common format that most generations of people have learned to EXPECT in printed material.  Expectations create preferences.  I have an impression those types of margins were originally set to make it easy to bind pages together and allow wear from page turning to occur outside the text area.  Those aren't issues with online presentations.)
Compare the readability of Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL) vs Patent for Accessible Blackberry (which uses NO CSS and only has an embedded body background color) I admit that to even scan the patent article I reduced my browser width because of the presentation's density and lack of visual clues.  Online, people scan - they don't read unless the content or need is compelling.

Christie Mason