Auto zooming browser for better accessibility
Now days, it is common for a computer user with large monitors to set the resolution higher than 1024 pixels in width. However, a lot of web pages are still designed with a fixed 980 or 960 width layout. It creates waste of space on left and right margins. I’m using Yahoo as an example.
Most of the time when I visit a site, I use browser’s zoom function (ctrl + +++) so that the page fits my screen. But not every user knows this option, and it is a hassle to zoom in the every time I visit a site. Taking care of site display should be part of website design, not a user’s task. Why doesn’t a website just auto zoom for the user? Zooming is supported in IE, Firefox, and Chrome through style.zoom and style.MozTransform. I wonder how yahoo would look if it had an auto zoom feature. I prototyped the code with jquery to test it.
Then, I inserted it through developer tools in IE, Firefox, and chrome. (Chrome and FF require running the code twice.) Here is how they looked.
With auto zooming, the font is bigger and no space wasted on left and right. The down side is there is less content displayed at a time and more vertical scrolling. In a portal site like yahoo, where it is important to optimize user experience on content selection, it may be beneficial to display as much content as possible. So I can see why they don’t auto zoom in for users.
On the other hand, auto zooming would make sense in a blog type of site, where it is important to optimize on content consumption. Bigger font means easier on the eyes for readers. (Readability point is along the lines of this article – http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/07/16-pixels-body-copy-anything-less-costly-mistake/) Wouldn’t it be great if everyone’s viewing experience is consistent? The site could also place the auto-zoom command on window resize event so that the site fills the width.
Try auto zooming for your favorite site. Please share thoughts on the result. Here is what reading this blog looks like with auto-zoom. I like it better when it’s auto-zoomed.
Hacker’s News Original
Hacker’s News Zoomed