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  1. #1
    navir
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    embedded fonts v accessibility

    While embedded fonts and images can preserve an author's formatting, it may not be useful to do so. At the very least, a visually-impaired user may not be able to read the font types and sizes you consider best. As a general principle, readers should have maximum control over presentation (formatting).

    "Freezing" formatting -- with embedded fonts and images -- is contrary to modern web design and information development. That's why IE for example, enables users to attach their own stylesheet to pages they view; so pages they view can be rendered the way most useful to them, rather than most compliant with the author's ego. Users will appreciate you concentrating your creative energies in creating good sentences and paragraphs, rather than formatting.

    If however, your formatting is more important than your content, then publish your pages as PDF files that may not be changed at all.

    Regards,
    Ivan

  2. #2
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    There is a happy medium!
    How would you feel if you were invited out to dinner and were presented with a squeeze-tube of highly nourishing black paste?
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Eileen_sig.gif>

  3. #3
    navir
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    To extend the metaphor, how would you feel if you were invited to dinner and were only allowed to have your food prepared one way -- the way the cook wanted it to be prepared? That is what embedded fonts, and font images are.

    A "squeeze-tube of black paste" is someone deciding what is best for me , because it is best for them.

  4. #4
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    If I was visually impaired, the first thing I would do is change the display settings accordingly. As you noted, it's easy to do.

    Besides, what is the difference between fomatting a page with Century Gothic (embedded) and Arial (on your system)? There are very few sites today that do not use some variation of the <font face="something"> tag. Embedding just extends the choices beyond the fonts likely to be found on everyone's computer.

    Fonts, like all formatting, can be very expressive when used intelligntly. They can convey strength, seriousness, a casual statement, beauty, or fear.

    If communication was limited to words and pictures there would be no reason to upgrade from Lynx.

    Take a look at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://webreview.com/1998/09_25/designers/09_25_98_1.shtml>The Seven Stages of Type Appreciation</A> for an understanding of why different fonts are used and the way a reader reacts to them.

    I am totally baffled as to why you single out fonts for criticism of writers "deciding what's best for the reader". Writers do that all the time. Aren't the words themselves an aspect of the writers decision of what the reader should see. How about where the paragraph marks a placed?

    A stark, unformatted page, itself conveys a number of messages (was the writer rushed? limited HTML knowledge? severe server limitations?).

    Back to the disability thing. Accessablity is about providing alternatives for the disabled, not about creating a lowest common denominator web.

  5. #5
    navir
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    Yes, it's true: There are countless invalid HTML pages using the deprecated FONT tag. There are also countless pages with typographical errors, and otherwise incomprehensible content. And there are sites that never use deprecated tags, and work hard to make themselves universally accessible. It is clear there exists a range of standards on the Internet.

    I read The Seven Stages of Type Appreciation when it was first posted nearly three years ago. My opinion of it has not changed.

    No one is talking about not having font, or other formatting, differences. The issue is letting users decide what those differences will be; freedom over tyranny.

    Moreover, the important issue concerns conveying meaning rather than appearances. The Hindu word "Maya" means mistaking a thing for what it represents. It is easy to mistake formatting for content, and we should do nothing to make it easier.

    My last recommendation would be to tag content meaningfully -- semantically -- and let users decide how to format it. This is not impractical. It is the basis for single-sourcing.

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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    I bet you don't get invited round for dinner very often. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> When I cook a meal for people, they get what I decide to serve; I certainly don't give them a menu! If you don't like my cooking, you don't accept my invitation. If you don't like the way your host has arranged his dining room, I wouldn't advise you start moving his furniture about - if you value your skin.

    Mummy decides what goes on the family dinner table.

    What a miserable, grey, cold, dull, silent world it would be without the Artist. The consumer has the right to decide whether to consume or not - that's all.
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    <img src=/S/bow.gif border=0 alt=bow width=15 height=15> Simply.. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kel_sig.gif>
    Moderator:<font color=448800> Pix Place, Internet Explorer</font color=448800>
    <small>www.kvisions.com

  8. #8
    navir
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    To pursue the metaphor (for the last time), a good host doesn't force vegetarians to eat meat, or force people with food allergies to eat what makes them ill. A good host usually asks how their guests want their steaks cooked, and may even ask about food aversions before creating the meal. Sometimes, good hosts even put the gravy in a separate container, or provide a range of condiments, so their guests can enjoy their meals as they want.

    And good artists... Good artists are good not because they control every color and pixel, but because they involve their audience in the process. Only didactic pornography -- a term coined by Joseph Campbell to describe advertisement and other propaganda -- is compelled to control its audience's experience.

    As Vincent Flanders (author of "Web Pages That Suck") often remarks, "Just because you CAN do something, does NOT mean you should."

  9. #9
    navir
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    As dessert, I offer the following from the Thursday, March 29, 2001 posting at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/news/depth/short033001.htm>SiliconValley.com</A>:

    QUESTION: "What is going to happen to Web design as the first generation of Net-native designers come into the workforce, kids who aren't thinking in terms of pages and other emulations of older media?"

    Jakob Nielsen: "If they are to do any good, they'll have to get the discipline of interactive design. Designing for yourself and designing for others are really two very different things. It should not be seen as 'I grew up with it, therefore I know how to do it.'

    Today, the most effective designs are done by old-timers who used to work in the computer industry, not by newcomers who have just thrown themselves onto the Web without understanding how to satisfy user needs....

    The current metaphors are publishing-based or, even worse, television-based. They're not very empowering and they're not oriented toward solving people's problems. They're more oriented toward just throwing things at you. I think that what we need is to reverse the perspective and think about how to empower users. People who have grown up as users will be more likely to do that. But they also need discipline that comes from the computer industry."

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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    Nobody (except you) is trying to force anybody to do anything. I decide what's on offer; you decide what's acceptable. If you don't like what I have to offer you move on to somebody whose offerings are more to your taste. *That's* freedom!

    >>Good artists are good not because they control every color and pixel, but because they involve their audience in the process.

    That is patent nonsense.
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    That's a striking example of a pageful of words with absolutely no content - and it isn't even pretty.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Eileen_sig.gif>

  12. #12
    navir
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    Here's an expression I sometimes use in cases like this:

    Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of time, and it just annoys the pig.

  13. #13
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    The humorless is tolerated; the offensive is taboo. <img src=/S/oink.gif border=0 alt=oink width=15 height=15>

    (See section 7 of the Lounge <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.wopr.com/cgi-bin/w3t/rules.pl?Cat=>Rules</A>.)
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  14. #14
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    Re: embedded fonts v accessibility

    This reminds me of the controversy in Pennsylvania regarding caller ID (bear with me, its relevant).

    Pennsylvania has one of the most restrictive wire tap laws in the country. It is amazing what could be considered an illegal wiretap in Pennsylvania. When Bell Atlantic first proposed caller ID, the PA Public Utilities Commission prevented them from implementing it.

    The PA PUC reasoned that Caller ID was an intrusion into the caller's privacy which outweighed the privacy of the call recipient to know the ID of the caller. At the same time some consumer advocate groups felt that the privacy of the recipient was paramount, out weighing the interest of the caller in protecting her anonimity.

    The result was the technological development of Caller ID block. We also have caller ID Block Block which allows you to block calls from people who block their ID. People with blocked IDs need to remove the block if they want to call a cab or order a pizza.

    I always have found this episode to be a fascinating illustration of the philosophical ambiguity of freedom and privacy. I remember it every time I hear two people arguing in favor of freedom and coming up with diametrically opposed conclusions.

    BTW, Ivan, isn't the personal style sheet option the funtional equivalent of Caller ID Block? It provides the freedom of the author to use all tools at her disposal to create her message. At the same time, it allows the recipient the freedom to read the words using their style preference.

    Personally, I think substituting your style sheets for the author's deprives the viewer of part of the message. But, hey, I'm one of those guys who thinks that customized internet news services are bad, because they shield readers from things they don't already know. For me, they lock interests in that they bolck things that the reader didn't even know he was interested in.

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