Sunday, June 10, 2007

Improving Accessibility through Typography

More than font size ...

"Among the many decisions you need to make when designing accessible web sites, typography seems to frequently be only shallowly addressed. Typography is rarely completely ignored — but it is greatly simplified, to a point that the issues raised don’t always complete the picture of accessible text. Accessible typography is commonly simplified to these three questions:

• How big is that font?
• Is this font readable?
• Is this enough contrast?

Typography has many facets which go beyond font faces, sizes, or the color of text. Taking typography into consideration at every step of the way can enable you to prepare a much more readable, accessible document.

How big is that font?

The size of the font is not really a relevant question. It’s better to ask yourself how easily the size of the font can be changed and whether changes in the font size cause any other problems with the text. Take a look at the text at multiple sizes. When you change the size of the text, what happens to the space between lines of text? (In typography terms, I’m discussing leading, which measures the space from the baseline of a line of text to the baseline of the next line.)

Using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) this space is set with the line-height rule. If you’ve set it to a fixed value, using pixels for a unit, for example, the space between lines will not change between different font-sizes. The resulting mess will cause lines to overlap at large sizes or it will cause the lines of text to be set very far apart at smaller text sizes. Either way, the resulting text is more difficult to read. Using ems to define line-height will allow this spacing to grow or shrink with your text as it changes."    (Continued via Accessites.org)    [Usability Resources]

Poor Line Height - Usability, User Interface Design

Poor Line Height

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