MS Forum Text Size

by cdwise 6. May 2009 00:28

Why 67% font size? Usually when I see something like that it is because the person responsible did so because they believed that 67% was the magic number where all browsers showed text as the same physical size. The idea behind this approach is that you set a base font size then scale items in ems from that. While I think this is an over controlling approach that still allows font sizes to scale in IE using Text > Size > Larger it is a reasonable approach.

 However, the only way this works well is if you then scale every element on the page to a reasonable size. Let’s do some math so you can see what I’m talking about.

Default font size without any scaling is 12pt or 16px on both Windows and OS X systems. So when you do the math you get 8pt or 10.72 (which may be rounded down to 10px). Now if you are on a high resolution screen that is the equivalent of 4.5-5pt print. Not something comfortable for most to read. Even on a “normal” screen 10pt text is the smallest you should use for text that is comfortable to read for more than say a menu item. So if you use 67% as the page level default to get the equivalent of 10pt type you would need to use 1.25em for body text.

So what does MS do? They use 67% with no multiplier or other scaling for body text.

How do I know this?

Because this morning I noticed that the font seems smaller than normal when I went to and discovered that the text seems smaller than before. So I opened it in the page in Expression Web and used its excellent CSS tools to see what is being applied.

So why didn’t MS scale the text so something more readable?

Your guess is as good as mine.

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Accessibility | Expression Web | Web Design

My Tutorials

by cdwise 1. May 2009 08:42

I’m considering pulling all of the free tutorials on this site since most of the comments I’m getting are complaints about downloading.

I’ve had a few comments posted on my tutorials, primarily the Building a Basic Website in Expression Web tutorial that indicate some people have had problems with viewing or downloading the tutorials. The latest ones have been quite rude and frankly, I don’t appreciate comments like “get a real host”.

So  I’m going to make a few comments of my own:

The tutorials are large – 1:20 minutes for the full version (122.7mb) and 18-30 minutes for each of the four parts if you go that route. Unless you are on a really fast connection expect it to take a few minutes to start. Heck, I’m on a 20mps connection and find that load time varies for me between 30 seconds and 3 minutes before the video will start to play after clicking the play arrow.

The full tutorial has been viewed over 12,000 and downloaded almost 1,700 times. That’s a lot of bandwidth.

Bandwidth is expensive and after months of overages bills ranging up to $130 a month I decided that I could not afford to provide unlimited bandwidth. As a result if there isn’t enough bandwidth available when you go to view or download.

Over the three years I’ve been offering  free tutorials on I have received exactly 3 contributions from people who appreciated the material enough to make a contribution. That’s a grand total of less than $100.

If you want the video and it won’t work for you tell you what, I’ll burn it to DVD and send it to you for $79.95 – that’s $20 less than what Total Training charges for their “Essentials” CD.


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Expression Web

CSS Based Menus

by cdwise 23. April 2009 23:34

Today’s live meeting on CSS menus:

Join the meeting.
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To use computer audio, you need speakers and microphone, or a headset.
First Time Users:
To save time before the meeting, check your system to make sure it is ready to use Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
Unable to join the meeting? Follow these steps:

1. Copy this address and paste it into your web browser:

2. Copy and paste the required information:
Meeting ID: BS7CG2
Entry Code: g'nRQ;P8k

If you still cannot enter the meeting, contact support

This is the zip file for the menus discussed and created during the April 22, 2009 Live Meeting on CSS menus. All of the code as well as a text based tutorial on using the images and code to create three types of menus are included in the zip file. Download it and extract to your hard drive.

Types of menus:

  1. Simple horizontal CSS menu with image based rollovers
  2. Simple vertical (suitable for sidebar or floated) CSS menu with image based rollovers
  3. Tutorial on using the Project Seven CSS Express Menus with Expression Web

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CSS | LiveMeeting | Web Design

Who are Web Pros?

by cdwise 9. April 2009 02:48 has published their Web Design Survey results. Their conclusions are interest, especially considering the state of the world’s economy right now. The data, conclusions and results are at and I found several of them interesting especially regarding employment. First, I wish they had broken out “large company, university, library, museum, nonprofit, or other organization” which accounts for 56.4% of the survey respondents. Since they make the raw data available if I get time I might try breaking it out myself but realistically I don’t have the time so if someone else has done so, please let me know where.

I’ve argued with folks at MS that they underestimate the freelancers and small firms that do web design and development. If you consider small firms to be those with less than 10 members (owners, partners, employees) 33.6% fall into that category. (Note only 26.2% used that category but my number comes from the business size section which might or might not be more accurate.)

I was surprised at the number of volunteer/hobbyists that took the survey. I suspect the number is low because is a site for those who take web design seriously and actively work to improve their skills. Most of the volunteers I’ve worked with aren’t that dedicated to improving their skills but maybe that has changed, hope so but I suspect the volunteers/hobbyists that took the survey are a small percentage of those who create/maintain personal, hobby or small nonprofit websites. I work with my sons’ PTO and scout websites, both maintained by volunteers, I create the design and get applications working and matching the rest of the site but they handle content, calendars, moderate forums, etc. but I also “fix” the things that get broken. Over the 10 years I’ve worked with these groups and their volunteer site maintainers less than 20% have had any desire to learn more than the minimum necessary to update content.

Anyway, what else I found interesting:

  • I expected the gender ratio to be smaller only female 16.2%
  • Freelancers with over 10 years of experience – 11.2%
  • Percentage with the goal of “a better class of clients” 7.7%
  • Weighted average salary $52,095
  • Median range $40,000 - $59.999
  • Job titles where age seems related to job title – Accessibility Expert and Information Architect, maybe those are what Interface/UI Designers, Usability Experts and Project managers grow into. <g>
  • Roles with the highest percentage of women – writers/editors, usability experts, web producer, or  information architect.
  • Women web developers are scare at 6.8% – wonder how that compares to development in general? Web developers make up 27.8% of the respondent’s job titles overall.
  • Of the entire sample, 9.1% make more than $100,000. A significantly greater percentage of Creative Directors, Information Architects, Interface Designers, Marketers, Usability Experts, and Web Directors make more than $100,000.
  • I suppose it doesn’t surprise anyone that the group that considers education to be the least relevant is the under 18 group (only 25% think it is important and relevant). In all the other age groups the majority think educations is relevant to their job.
  • Job satisfaction rates are high averaging 70.7% with org 15.4% dissatisfied with their job. Though more females tan males are dissatisfied at with almost half dissatisfied which I suspect may reflect other job related issues and that more women are in the lower paying positions or in the uncompensated roles. I suppose nobody is surprised to job satisfaction is highest in those who make more than $150,000.
  • Art Directors, Web Designers, and Designers, less than half participate in formal training. Accessibility Experts, Usability Experts, Interface Designers, and Information Architects (who, coincidently, represent the leading edge of the field), have the greatest percent participation in formal training. The higher the income, the more likely people are to participate in formal training.


Web Design

Canadian & Want Expression Web

by cdwise 8. April 2009 21:24

I was recently sent an offer where Canadians initiated in Expression Web can get it for $0 from Angie Lim at Microsoft Canada:

It is for a free Exclusive Web Solutions Toolkit consisting of: a free copy of Microsoft’s Expression Web 2 software (retail $299 CDN), three part web development webcast training, hosting offers and more just by joining Microsoft’s Web Solution Community for free. Registering takes a few minutes and allows partners to access sales, marketing and training resources right at their fingertips all for free. I would be more than happy to help anyone with this process if need be.

You can access the Web Resource Kit page at:

Angie says this offer is good until April 30, 2009.

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