Points or Pixels?

  Pesala 04:57 24 Oct 2003

Some people seem to think it best to define font sizes in pixels rather than points. I'm not so sure. The way that NetObjects Fusion seems to do it is relative to the browser default size = (-2) (-1) (+0) (+1) (+2) (+3) or (+4).

What is the best method?

  Taran 10:38 24 Oct 2003

I normally use point sizes, but I have also been known to dabble with pixel sizes.

In brief, points are a standard method of setting type size in print: if you expect your site visitors to regularly print copies of your webpages with type sizes set in points it may be more legible in print. The obvious variable here is your visitors printer preferences and web browser preferences in relation to printing.

Now, since point sizes are not directly equal to the pixel matrix used by your monitor there is a certain amount of 'approximation' involved in displaying them. This can cause your fonts to be less legible.

Older web browser (IE 5 and under) have difficulty from scaling text when the fonts are set in point sizes.

All newer browser software on PC and Mac platforms has long since addressed the issue but as in all things, some browsers cope better than others and a good testing program for your web will pick up and highlight any issues.

I almost always use points and have done for some time now. The argument in favour of pixel sizing fonts is not very compelling these days when even low quality domestic printers coupled with predominantly high version browser software can produce good output in print, while IE as the majority market share browser can normally cope with most things that come its way without mangling your pages too much.

Points for me, but pixels if you want to prevent browser software from altering your pages on the fly.

Sorry if this raises more questions than it answers.



  Forum Editor 14:00 24 Oct 2003

simply because I've used that method for the whole of my computing life (which is a longish one). I do a fair amount of Desktop publishing work, and point sizes rule the roost in that environment - so I do the same thing in web design. It doesn't seem to cause me any problems.

  Pesala 15:26 24 Oct 2003

It seems like a non-issue, but judging from some responses from the Opera forum one would think that not using pixels was gauranteed to drive visitors away from your website.

It seems to me that whether you specifiy the type size in pixels or point, inches, or metres, there is going to be a lot of scaling anyway, otherwise we would find that graphic text was sharper than text text, but we find that the opposite is the case due to font hinting and intelligent scaling.

I am not even sure whether NOF is specifying the size in points. There is no mention of it in the code, though I have seen code that specifies the size in points or pixels, NOF only specifies relative sizes, which seems the best to me, unless you want to align text and graphics precisely. Then I suppose that you would have to specify sizes in pixels or points.

All looks just fine to me on my website click here as long as I have my browser set up right. I have changed the site background pattern and will experiment to see if I can change the site appearance by renaming and copying a single file - AIM Background.jpg - which is used on the entire site. It would be an easy way to give it a fresh appearance every few months.

However, I can see that one must be very careful on the choice of background pattern. Anything too strong would spoil the site completely.

  Taran 15:30 24 Oct 2003

You can indeed overwrite the style graphics with alternative files for an appearance update.

You could just as easily edit the style in NetObjects and re-publish, but I seem to remember your site being on the large side (a vast understatement I know) which would not make this method practical.

In fact you can update most of the graphics in this way, although I'd be extremely careful regarding button graphics since any deviation from current size (and even colour) could throw your site sideways.

  Pesala 15:36 24 Oct 2003

and see if it works.

  Pesala 15:46 24 Oct 2003

However, it is hard to find textures that work well. I had to trawl my hard disk to find the current one, which came with Xara Webstyle.

I have seen a lot more sites where the background detracts from the appearance rather than enhancing it. Plain white is much safer.

  Taran 15:50 24 Oct 2003

White, white and white are my favourite web site backgrounds.

Nothing else makes life easier when delivering text copy than black on white.

If the bulk of your site is image based or where a corporate brand is being followed you can get away with alternative colours a bit more, but I will always stick with white as my mainstay background colour of choice.


  Forum Editor 16:24 24 Oct 2003


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