Monday, March 15, 2004

ABC website readability

I've just sent this email to the ABC, I wonder what their response will be. If you haven't seen the
AM or PM web pages, have a look, the text is REALLY small.


Hi,

I'm just writing to let you know that whilst I am often drawn to articles on
the AM http://www.abc.net.au/am/ and PM http://www.abc.net.au/pm/ websites,
I very rarely read them all the way through because the font size is far too
small and trying to read gives me a headache. Take for example:

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1066436.htm

which I was just trying to read. Why is the main story text so much smaller
than the other text on the page? The other text is clearly legible, and easy on
the eye. The main article text is barely readable unless one squints. I am a 27
year old male with good eyesight and no glasses. I hate to think how my father
or grandmother (who might also be target audience) would cope. Almost all news
agencies these days are pretty good at producing clearly readable web articles,
look at anything from http://www.theage.com.au as a good example of news web
page design. How many people are going to read your articles if they need to
squint to do so, and so much other content is available that is easy on the
eyes?

I had a look in your CSS file "/am/css/rcaff.css" and found the following
section: {~ lines 313-315}

DIV.storytext {
CLEAR: both; PADDING-RIGHT: 12px; PADDING-LEFT: 12px; FONT-SIZE: x-small;
//^^^^^^^
PADDING-BOTTOM: 12px; COLOR: #000000; PADDING-TOP: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif
}

You are setting the text size for the article to "x-small", which would explain
why it's unreadable. Is this intentional? After changing this line to be:
... FONT-SIZE: small; ...

viola, the web page becomes readable. If you want people with non-superhuman
eyesight to be able to read your articles, I would recommend against using
"x-small" font size.

I would welcome any response, even justification for keeping your web
pages with smaller font sizes than almost anywhere else on the web.

I've attached an updated CSS file which makes the change described above.

Thankyou for your consideration,

Matt


Will they tell me to get lost? Will they listen? Only time will tell. In the mean time,
I'm using Ctrl-= in Firefox to magnify their articles, but only when I can be bothered.

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