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  1. #1
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Increasing text size? Are we out of the woods yet?

    Since Opera and IE7 both have zoom functions, are we completely out of the text-resize issue that thwarts many fixed designs that appear on site such as CSSmania.com etc?

    My view is that until More users adopt IE7 from IE6 or that firefox implements a similar zooming function then perhaps we are not clear of this worry.

    It is interesting however how many sites appear on CSS-sites that herald great designs but yet fail this simple test.

    What are your thoughts people?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru redhillccwebmas's Avatar
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    Its a valid point you raise; the are only two contributing entities anyway in this matter; a built-in browser zoom function, or relatively sized sites. If a user views a fixed-dimension site in a browser that doesn't have a zoom function, then that's tough. The ideal outcome would be for all browsers to incorporate a zoom function, but until then I think it's up to us, the web designers, to code our sites using relative rather than fixed dimensions

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Personally I don't like the zoom function. Why would someone on a 1024x768 resolution who just wants the text size a couple of sizes larger actually want the page to be blown up so large that they now need to use the horizontal scrollbar to view all the content?

    Yes, it takes some care to ensure that text can be resized in a fix width layout but as long as a couple of sizes larger are catered for which I think is realistic and isn't as big a problem as people make it out to be.

    Nobody's suggesting that with a fix width layout that the layout has to be perfect with larger fonts but it's not all that difficult to ensure that the text is legible and usable.

    Maybe it's because design has stemed from the print industry where the designer has complete control which means that we've all become perfectionists but if a user is increasing the text size then presumably their main focus is on the content so I'm sure the least of their worries will be whether a certain box is in exactly the right position?

    If the designer wants their webpage to resize as zoom does then they can always use em's for dimensions anyway (even in Firefox) so I'd personally prefer it if all browsers adopted Firefox's way of resizing the text but maybe that's just me.

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    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Page zoom doesn't mean we can revert to the pixel-based layouts of the Bad Old Days. As Dave says, you'll then get a horizontal scrollbar, which isn't very user friendly.

    A constrained fluid or fluid/elastic hybrid, where the max and min widths are specified in ems, is probably still the best solution. It works with or without page zoom (provided you specify font sizes in em or &#37 and won't cause unnecessary scrollbars.
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  5. #5
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments guys, It certainly answered a few questions I had about how you accomodate text resizing.

    CSSwiz, I agree with your point about large resolutions & increasing text size, I hadn't considered that viewpoint. And you're very right in this of course. Generally, I do not try and make my font sizes too small so that for a large percentage of the population they would need to be resized. But I do agree that those who need to should be able to without zooming the whole page, which usually leads to loss of quality in the graphics anyway.

    Tommy, I'm glad you mentioned the fluid/elastic hybrid layout techniques, as what got me thinking was that although it is possible to accomodate complex designs using this method, don't you feel then it becomes a case of verbose (and non-semantic HTML) code just to ensure all the niceties are taken care of so that the design scales well with the text? I personally would prefer not to have to resort to extra divs and whatever bits to accomodate these more complicated designs.


  6. #6
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    The limitations of the current level of CSS does necessitate some extraneous markup, that is true. It shouldn't have to be unsemantic, though, since the DIV and SPAN element types are semantically neutral and can be used when nothing else fits.

    I'd rather have a couple of extra DIVs in the markup than create pages that will only fit one window size.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

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    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    As a user I wouldn't like to have to zoom in simply to read the sites text, this seems like poor accessibility to me... I'm all for resizable text and so agree with the comments before me, CSS should be used to this end.

  8. #8
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    On the first site I'd ever built (and am still working on), I used a menu from Stu Nichols, which was fixed width and in pixels. While the rest of the pages' text is in ems, the menu isn't. Even one enlargement of the text breaks the menu. The best I could do was make the menu headers 16px so at least a majority of my viewers didn't have to enlarge the text to read the menu... enlarging for the rest of the page is fine.

    When I built another site, I knew about the text enlarging problem. I started out with no text (except in the footer) smaller than 1em and tested 2-3 enlargements on as many browsers as I could. If the text generally stayed in the area (didn't overlap something) and was still readable, I figured it was good. While some people use extremely large fonts, most people (as far as I can tell) enlarge one, two, or three times depending on how microscopic the text is in the first place.

    So that's my rule of thumb. Page readable after 2-3 enlargements, and not starting with a microscopic font in the first place.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by csswiz View Post
    Personally I don't like the zoom function.
    I have to agree - the inclusion of page zoom in the latest FireFox is a big backwards step for us all - why do the FireFox team insist on copying all of the BAD features of IE?
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  10. #10
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I thought they were copying a good feature of Opera.

  11. #11
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    You can still increase text size in FF. So the zoom is just a little extra nicety


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