Page zoom does not mean the end of flexibility

The latest versions of most browsers support—and default to—full page zooming instead of just increasing text size. Some argue that this means you no longer need to think about what happens when users increase (or, to a lesser degree, decrease) text size, and that there is no longer a need for fluid or elastic layouts or using other units than pixels for font sizing.

The thought may be tempting, but I don’t quite agree, for much the same reasons as Zoe Mickley Gillenwater gives in Why browser zoom shouldn’t kill flexible layouts, where she argues that full page zoom does not solve all the problems that liquid and elastic layouts solve.

Another reason for making sure your design is flexible is that on most websites you have to take varying amounts of content into account, so your design needs to be robust enough to handle that. And if you work with multilingual websites, the same content will take up a different amount of space depending on the language. Some languages have mostly short words, others have really, really long words. Full page zoom does not change that.

Posted on June 18, 2009 in CSS, Usability, Accessibility