Ticket #8633 (closed defect: fixed)

Opened 8 years ago

Last modified 7 years ago

Your site overrides my choice of monospace font

Reported by: David Abrahams <dave@…> Owned by: maxwell
Priority: medium Milestone: Hot Fixes
Component: Content Viewing Version: Live
Severity: major Keywords: ReportABug
Cc: System Area: Content Display
Primary Skill: CSS
Site URL: http://cnx.org/content/m15849/latest/
Suppress email to reporter: yes

Description (last modified by jenn) (diff)

Maybe picky for some, but major for me. "Courier New," which your stylesheet selects, is much less readable for me than my favorite sans-serif font. Furthermore, it tends to have a very different scale from the variable-width fonts on the system, so for the same pointsize, it tends to look tiny and unreadable.

I'm currently using the Safari beta, but it also happens on Firefox.

Change History

  Changed 8 years ago by je2

  • owner changed from je2 to maxwell
  • status changed from new to assigned
  • suppressreporteremail set

Not sure is this is something we do intentionally or something that can be addressed. Passing to Max for his input.

  Changed 8 years ago by jccooper

Currently we set the body font-family as: tahoma,verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif

Don't see where Courier New comes in. We also don't do anything with !important to fonts to cause an over-ride. Maybe it's a Mac thing?

  Changed 8 years ago by je2

Courier New is used in the code blocks.

  Changed 8 years ago by jccooper

Indeed. 'code' is specified: "Courier New",Courier,monospace

  Changed 8 years ago by maxwell

While we could set it to "monospace", this would make things look different for each user depending on what their browser had set in its options/preferences settings. This would potentially be quite bad for users who don't know how to change these settings in their browser, or who using things like computers in shared labs. I've changed the first preferred typeface for code on maxdev to be "courier" instead of "courier new", and that seems to look better in Safari on Mac, FF3 on Mac, and Chrome on Windows (and it's a wash on IE6 and FF2 on Windows), so ask the reporter if that module on maxdev now looks better for him.

  Changed 8 years ago by jenn

  • priority changed from unprioritized to medium
  • skills changed from Unspecified to User Support
  • component changed from Unknown to Content Viewing
  • description modified (diff)

Firefox, for example, does let you choose your own fonts, but in a very heavy-handed way -- there's no way to override just the monospaced font, for example, which is sort of a bummer. We could perhaps look into adding some nicer monospace fonts at the head of the list. Lucida and Monaco come to mind; I found a nice example page. Can always still fall back to Courier.

Also, we seem to be going to "suppress reporter email" pretty quickly lately -- have we gotten back to the user yet? Would be very nice to know what platform and browser he's using, because when I enter a font override, it works fine for me.

  Changed 8 years ago by je2

My testing showed a small but significant improvement when switching from Courier New to Courier in both Safari (Mac) and Firefox (Mac). This was most noticeable when the font size was reduced, as the former resulted in squished text. As with Max, I did not see any drawbacks to this change on any browser I tested (FF3 for Windows, Safari for Windows included).

Emailed reporter asking him to compare the two fonts and report whether this was an improvement for his specific issue. Also offered to show him how to override our font in Firefox should Courier not be an acceptable option for him (to my knowledge there is no way to do this in Safari).

I see no drawbacks to switching to Courier, and would recommend that it be moved to the first option in the list barring any new problems being discovered.

  Changed 8 years ago by maxwell

  • cc jenn added
  • status changed from assigned to awaitinginput

After much back and forth, it looks like Courier as principal typeface at "font-size: 1.8em;" should be a happy medium: not too small in Safari, not too big in FF. The only exception I'd like to make is for the eip-help files, where space is very limited, and I'd prefer not to have to rewrite a bunch of little code snippets, but this should mainly be viewed by IE and FF users anyway.

Jenn, could I put this on trunk? It should be pretty noninvasive (2 content.css files, editInPlace.css and eip-help.css).

follow-up: ↓ 13   Changed 8 years ago by jenn

  • cc jenn removed
  • status changed from awaitinginput to assigned

Oh, just global changes to all our CSS files? Sure, no problem.

No, seriously, that's fine. I'll give it a good look over in various contexts. I'd still like to know what the reporter's system is like, though, and why he wasn't able to override our font choices; is any of that email trail available?

  Changed 8 years ago by maxwell

(In [27230]) Change default typeface and size of monospace text. Refs #8633.

  Changed 8 years ago by maxwell

  • status changed from assigned to testing

(In [27231]) Change default typeface and size of monospace text, except in eip-help files, where space is limited. Fixes #8633.

  Changed 8 years ago by maxwell

  • milestone changed from future to Hot Fixes

in reply to: ↑ 9   Changed 8 years ago by je2

Replying to jenn:

Oh, just global changes to all our CSS files? Sure, no problem. No, seriously, that's fine. I'll give it a good look over in various contexts. I'd still like to know what the reporter's system is like, though, and why he wasn't able to override our font choices; is any of that email trail available?

I responded to his initial ticket via direct email, and am including his response to that email (with his responses inline) below.


Thank you for your interest in Connexions.

I received your bug report involving the fonts used when viewing Connexions materials online. Our site specifies fonts in order to provide a consistent look and feel for users; some browsers, such as Firefox, allow you to override these choices, while others, such as Safari, do not. While this may limit formatting options for those viewing content in certain browsers, it does ensure that all users are able to access the content in a consistent manner; however, we want to be sure that the choices we make work for as many people as possible.

Based on your report, we tested the display of code elements (where Courier New is used) in a variety of browsers and operating systems, and did notice some problems with the Courier New font in Safari for Mac (and, to a lesser extent, Firefox for Mac). Changing the style to Courier instead of Courier New seemed to resolve these issues without introducing any problems for other browsers. Would you mind testing this on your system to see if this improves the display you are seeing?

The original module is located here: http://cnx.org/content/m15849/latest/ The modified version is located here: http://(dev machine address removed)/content/m15849/latest/

Only very slightly. The monospace font is still noticeably shorter and tinier than the rest.

I recognize that this solution still does not allow you to choose a new font family when using Safari, but this is necessary to ensure predictable results in as many browsers as possible.

I dispute that assertion. Have you really *tried* to make the site look good without specifying a particular font in CSS?

Please let us know if the second link is an improvement over the first and we can investigate the possibility of updating our style sheets on the live server accordingly. It would also be very helpful to know what operating system you are using (Mac or Windows) and the browser versions you have installed (e.g. Firefox 3, Safari 2, etc.).

I'm on MacOS Leopard 1.5.6 at the moment with the latest Safari beta.

If the Courier choice is still not an acceptable option, I would be more than happy to provide you with instructions on how to override the site-specified fonts using Firefox.

I may switch back to Firefox as my main browser, but I was hoping to get Safari to work for me.

(Please note that Firefox is actually the preferred option for viewing Connexions content, whereas Safari has known limitations, specifically when viewing math content or authoring modules.)

Noted, thanks.

  Changed 8 years ago by je2

And then my most recent response, specifically to his comments regarding the size of the text and the decision to specify fonts . . .


The primary consideration here is that many of our users are educators, students, and others who are accessing content on shared computers and may not have the permissions and/or skills to make changes to browser settings. Should someone change the browser font settings in a lab computer to, say, Wingdings, the next user may not be able to use the site correctly. Specifying a font allows us to present the content consistently regardless of these settings, unless that user has explicitly chosen to override our settings for other reasons (e.g. accessibility needs, font preference, etc.),

Again, my apologies if this causes an inconvenience to you, but please understand that these decisions were made with the intention of meeting the needs of as many users as possible. I am frankly surprised that Safari does not have an option to override browser settings as Firefox does, and would encourage you to file a feature request with Apple if this is creating problems for you.

Again, I thank you for your feedback. I will check with our developers to see if the sizing issue can be resolved, and will pass your suggestions along.



  Changed 8 years ago by jenn

  • skills changed from User Support to CSS
  • status changed from testing to closed
  • resolution set to fixed

Rolled out with Google Analytics "milestone". Jonathan, do you want to email him separately? I've left the email suppression on for the moment.

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