Monday, 31 March 2008

BBC site redesign, px font sizes (edited - inaccurate)

The BBC news website has changed its style this morning, and now has the greyish text and increased line spacing that is all the rage on Web 2.0 sites.  
In an idle moment, I had a look at the stylesheet.  I'm not a web styling expert, but I need to sort out the stylesheets for  Interestingly, the BBC's font size and line height are specified in pixels – years ago that was said to be a no-no because 13px might not be so readable on a denser display or a handheld.  But trying to use "em" measurements or anything like that was horribly incompatible between browsers.  These days, Safari and Firefox still happily resize text smaller or larger when asked (Ctrl-+), even if it is specified in pixels.  So I wonder if the "old pixel" has become the new standard resolution-independent measurement: "how big would this have looked on an old SVGA monitor"?  
EDITED: Oops, as bods commented, it is mostly em-based after all (but with occasional stray px font-sizes for parts like ".storyextra h2" that I happened to hit in my initial idle look)


Dan G said...

Ems are still very much the way to do it. The BBC aren't too hot on web design (grey on white??), and that only underlines it.

Bods said...

You might be interested in the BBC's CSS guidelines (which I helped to form the original draft of, many years ago, in my former days as a BBC client side developer)

The News website has used pixels for some aspects of its fonts for several years - however if you look through the CSS, you'll hopefully spot that the CSS for stories on the News site is set in ems!

You'll also spot ems in the CSS for the new homepage.

(For the record, I still work for the Beeb, but don't do coding any more!)

Bods said...

I'll also add that I'm a bit of a fan of the old em myself :)