Font sizes; was: Re: Legal requirements for document accessibility.

Subject: Font sizes; was: Re: Legal requirements for document accessibility.
From: "David Neeley" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 08:44:46 -0600

Char James-Tanny helpfully informed us:

"I checked with Brian Walker, who said that there aren't any legal
requirements for font size. There is a requirement if you want to
label your docs as "large print" (we think it's 16 points), and the
common suggestion for online output is to use resizable fonts (using
ems or %)."

I believe it is helpful in this discussion to realize that fonts vary
widely in their readability at particular sizes, so all-encompassing
rules related to "minimum font sizes" may not be very helpful.

Within fairly broad bounds, factors such as the font's x-height can
make a huge difference. In fact, when mixing two fonts on a page, it
may be necessary to adjust point sizes to compensate for the
differences in visual size. Eleven point Times mixed with, say, eleven
point Gill Sans will visually appear that the Gill is a much larger

So far as I am aware, there is no formula to guide us in this
matter--it is a judgment call, but one that is helpful to keep in mind
when designing a page layout.


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