Download speed detection

Just came across a useful piece of javascript, designed to test the connection speed of your visitor. I’m thinking that if you have a page with a lot of flash on it (or even a lot of static images), you might be able to use this to send people on slower connections to a “lighter” version. Or better still, load the lighter version by default and send people on faster connections to the “prettier” version.

I haven’t tested it yet… but it looks like it might come in handy!

Font Sizes and Browser Quirks

This website has been online for almost 6 months now, And Ben has just pointed out a font sizing quirk that has made the text here unreadable on IE for Windows if the Text Size (in the View menu) is set to Smaller or Smallest.

And he was right – I’d never checked it before.

Turns out, using this is a no-no:
body {
font: 0.8em/1.6em Verdana, sans-serif;

Owen Briggs has written a fairly in-depth study (and taken a gazillion screen shots) highlighting the different methods of text sizing and their various behaviours across different browsers.

It appears a more reliable way to achieve the goal is:
body {
font: 100% Verdana, sans-serif;

#wrapper {
font-size: 0.8em;
line-height: 1.6em;

And before anyone gets on their soapbox and says I shouldn’t specify a font size anyway, go and read Owen’s post. I particluarly like:

“One sizing wisdom is that a document’s main text should be left alone so it can display at whatever the browser default is. This sounds good, but since most browsers default to a text size that I have to back up to the kitchen to read, I decided the zen approach to design wasn’t for me. Besides, if I was really zen I wouldn’t write a stylesheet.” (Italics mine)