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For certain special pages I want to put content all on one page. Think of them as cheatsheets (or similar) the idea being is that users should benefit from seeing the whole page in one glance. However if the user resizes the window I can't achieve this and I need to opt for the usual scroll bars.

Is making the line height/font size a function of the browser size a bad idea? Are there any examples of websites that use this technique well?

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Do you mean a function of the window size or a function of the browser's current / selected font size? –  Danny Varod Mar 19 '12 at 16:08

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I see two problems with this: causing user astonishment and taking away choice.

Astonishment: A user who resizes a window expects to see more or less content (depending on direction) as a result of this. Sites that behave as you describe are rare. This is not the behavior the user expects.

Taking away choice: users have reasons for choosing the browser settings they do, and they also have controls available. If they want to shrink the font so it all fits on-screen they can. If they need bigger fonts to see and are willing to scroll, they can do that. Your design takes away those choices, and you'll lose users for whom your design is a bad fit.

It is also not reasonable to expect users to resize their windows to fit your content. A browser window is very rarely doing one thing (tabbed browsing is the norm), and anyway it's an imposition. Don't make users work to use your site.

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There is nothing evil about scrollbars.

If your user changes the window, they want a scrollbar to appear, and the fonts to stay the same. Why do you want to fight your users?

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