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I was looking around at the websites of typographers earlier today, and came across the site of one independent designer (whom I shall not name) which looked so broken on my computer I had to email him and explain what was wrong with his HTML and CSS, and how standards-compliant coding practices would rectify them. I am a professional web developer and like to educate others about web standards and accessibility, to help improve the web in my own little way. The response I got back, however, shocked me:
"These are all visual problems caused by your settings. The site was meant to be viewed the way I designed it. I won't tailor the site to meet every possible variable of every combination of browser customizations."
My 'settings and customisations' were choosing a preferred font other than Times, increasing the minimum font size, and increasing the line height in my browser's preferences. This is so that I do not encounter illegible text. I am short-sighted, and my sight gets worse later in the day when my eyes tire or I start to slouch.
These are standard preferences that every browser has available, and I know most people who care about type aesthetics (i.e. the design‐orientated folks likely to his web site) will set such preferences to their liking.
There is no need to specifically code to "meet every possible variable", by using a flexible layout, and realising that the web is not the printed page—you do not have absolute control over how your site looks on your visitors machines—you can produce a site that looks great on everyone's screen, regardless of their preferred font size.
I reminded him that the only computer on which his site can "be viewed the way he designed it" was his own. I will no longer be recommending this designer to my clients. I hope the people coming to this forum are not as narrow minded.
− Nicholas Shanks,
Mac & Web Developer.