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Re: browser zoom VS text zoom


From: Alastair Campbell
Date: Nov 30, 2013 8:03AM

Hi Steve,

But assuming sites are not well designed, isn't text-sizing better than

I realise there is a huge range of ways to design badly for re-sizing, and
most don't do it well. However, by accident (usually) responsive sites are
designed well for zoom.

Perhaps a way of maintaining the choice would be for the browser to leave
the control, but default to zoom when on a responsive site (one declaring
the viewport=device-width). If the user still decides to switch back to
text-only then save the choice for that site.

Without a switch of default (or a huge education campaign) then many people
will think that many sites are rubbish for re-sizing when actually they are
great - if you zoom.


On Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 1:22 AM, Steve Green < <EMAIL REMOVED>
> wrote:

> The problem with your suggestion is that it only works if every website in
> the world is designed well. Non-responsive websites *should* accommodate
> text resizing but we all know that a large proportion of them do not. If
> users do not have the option to select zoom, those sites will not be usable.
> Steve Green
> -----Original Message-----
> From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto:
> <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Alastair Campbell
> Sent: 30 November 2013 00:38
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] browser zoom VS text zoom
> Apologies for jumping on an old thread, but I had an idea.
> We were discussing zoom vs text sizing, and I was positive about
> responsive design when used with browser zoom.
> As a designer/developer you tend to either use responsive techniques and
> manage the layout at different sizes, or you have to allow for text-size
> increases (although more likely you bother).
> However, as a user how do you know what the website is doing? Do you try
> one and then the other?
> Just using text-size will create unusable responsive sites, and just zoom
> will leave you with lots of horizontal scrolling.
> Then it occurred to me (in the pub with friends) that there is a very
> obvious signal from the website about the best type of sizing to use: the
> meta-viewport tag.
> If a site is responsive, it will use:
> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">
> Therefore the browser could default to zoom. If it doesn't use that value,
> text-sizing would be more appropriate.
> Can you foresee situations when that wouldn't work, or make things worse?
> The only one I can think of is that for narrow sites (e.g. 800px wide in a
> large browser window) then zooming without responsive design can be ok, as
> it just fills the window.
> Overall, it seems like you could remove the browser control for switching
> to text size, and use the meta viewport as the signal to change behaviour.
> -Alastair
> > > messages to <EMAIL REMOVED>
> > > >