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[Design] Evaluate the feasibility and impact of restoring font-size to the browser default / user setting
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Description

Proposal

Display resolutions and dpi are continuously increasing, raising the need to occasionally increase the font size to remain legible for a wide spectrum of readers. A typical webpage - such as news sites - nowadays shows the main article content with the font-size configured by the user in their browser (default: 16px). The Minerva skin already uses this font size, Vector's font-size was last increased from 0.8em (12.8px) to 0.875em (14px) in 2014 in the Typography refresh project.

This card is intended to gather feedback from users/contributors about the option to change the font-size to the user setting (default: 16px) typically used by websites.

Current font sizes used by skins

(Pixel count is different on HiDPI.)

  • Minerva: 100% -> 16px
  • Timeless (2015): 95% -> 15.2px
  • Vector (2010): 87.5% -> 14px
  • Modern (2008): 13px
  • CologneBlue (2003): 10pt -> 13+1/3px
  • MonoBook: 79.375% -> 12.7px

The continuous increase in font size reflects how devices became higher resolution throughout the years.

Impact

  1. Casual / new readers of Wikipedia will be granted with a more readable experience consistent with popular media.
  2. There will be users positively affected, who either used zooming, a font-size changer, or a custom stylesheet to make Wikipedia more legible.
  3. There will be users accustomed to the current font-size, preferring to restore it.

The proportions of each group should be polled proactively: feedback from readers in the first two groups seldom reach the developers.

User choice

There are a few approaches to cater to different user needs:

  • A skin preferences popup with a font-size changer could be implemented within the Desktop Improvements project. This feature is often requested, see Wikiwand's "Personalize" popup in the top-right corner for an example and the task T91201: Accessibility settings/preferences.
  • This change can be opt-out within the Desktop Improvements project (which is already opt-out).
  • Readers can change their font-size setting in the browser, or use a font-size changing addon / stylesheet.

Details

Related Gerrit Patches:

Event Timeline

Demian created this task.Feb 13 2020, 1:04 PM
Restricted Application added subscribers: Masumrezarock100, Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptFeb 13 2020, 1:04 PM
Demian renamed this task from [Design] Evaluate the feasibility and impact of restoring the Vector skins's font-size to the browser default in the Desktop Improvements project to [Design] Evaluate the feasibility and impact of restoring font-size to the browser default / user setting in the Desktop Improvements project.Feb 13 2020, 2:02 PM
Demian renamed this task from [Design] Evaluate the feasibility and impact of restoring font-size to the browser default / user setting in the Desktop Improvements project to [Design] Evaluate the feasibility and impact of restoring font-size to the browser default / user setting.Feb 15 2020, 1:41 PM
Demian updated the task description. (Show Details)

Change 570276 had a related patch set uploaded (by Aron Manning; owner: Aron Manning):
[mediawiki/skins/Timeless@master] Font update: reset font-size from 95% (15.2px) to default 100% (16px typical), thereby removing some font-rendering artifacts where the width of some strokes is inconsistent. Changes to layout are barely noticeable.

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/570276