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Re: browser zoom VS text zoom


From: Alastair Campbell
Date: Nov 30, 2013 11:07AM

Hi Cameron,

A realistic demo would involve a browser plugin, but I can provide some
steps to show what it's like:

1. Open www.bbc.co.uk in a browser with both zoom and text-only zoom.
Safari version >6, Firefox >3, I think IE >8 as well? Not Chrome/Opera as
they don't have text-only zoom.

The default is zoom, and if you bump it up 200% with cntl/cmd and +, you
get a lot of horizontal scrolling. If you switch to text-only, the
experience is better. Not great, but better as there's no horizontal
scrolling (something people a magnifier find really hard to deal with).

The BBC (homepage at least) isn't a responsive site and doesn't declare a
viewport, so imagine the browser automatically switched to text-zoom onload
of the first page.

2. The second example would be bostonglobe.com. If you open that (same
browser and settings) you'll get a lot of unreadable, overlapping text with
text-only zoom.

The globe does declare viewport though, so imagine it automatically
switched to zoom. If you switch to zoom, you'll get the best experience so
far as it then uses the mobile-sized styles.

Touch-screens, or rather non-desktop devices are interesting, as the
mechanics of zoom are different. In that case they don't have text-zoom at
all (or very few devices do), and zoom works like a screen-magnifier. I
think there are improvements to be made for mobile zooming, but it doesn't
affect this conversation and I would rather deal with it separately.