August 19, 2002 at 5:36 AM
It is a rare and wicked day that I link to anything that Jakob Nielsen has to say, today is that day. In Jakob's latest cry as a usability bigot he demands that we Let Users Control Font Size. Yes, I have to agree, we should allow users to do do this. The problems are that not all of the metrics (i.e. pixels) allow the user to resize the text in every browser. So, for a time we all jumped on the latest bandwagon and insisted that everyone used EMs. Though, by trial and error we discovered that EMs are very problematic to deal with in the real world (i.e. the Web as it is today, cross-platform, cross-browser). So then we resorted to letting usability suffer a little and crawled back to our caves with pixels as a metric. Today Jakob is demanding that Microsoft allow it's IE users to override any designated fixed font size at any time. We agree. There, I said it. Now, if you are a designer who still doesn't understand why we would agree to that, maybe reading this A List Apart article would be a good idea.