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Is there still any need for a font resizer in web apps?

Modern web browseers easilly allow you to zoom in on content. Older browsers such as IE6 and IE7 require you to change the font size via changing the text size in the View menu.

I used to add three A A A links to specify different font sizes within the web application itself. Clicking on one of these links would increase/decrease the default font size and save the setting in a cookie.

I'm just wondering if people think this process is still required?

Cheer Sniffer

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Related: ui.stackexchange.com/questions/211/… –  Patrick McElhaney Aug 23 '10 at 12:50
    
Related: ux.stackexchange.com/q/29294/17023 –  unor Nov 20 '12 at 15:10
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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If someone is looking to change text size, having the ability to do so in the browser and on the site means they're more likely to find the option. However, something to think about:

If in testing or conversation you find people actually using your zoom buttons, your text is too small.

Whether or not the site design is clever matters much less to your users than if your paragraph font size is too small and usability is reduced. Rather than need the text re-sizer, seriously weight the option of just making the content larger (or alternatively, programming content size so that the browser defaults, set and preferred by the user, are used instead of your own proclivities).

A few resources to consider the conversation further:

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Excellent answer. Thanks very much. –  Sniffer Aug 24 '10 at 12:01
    
Thanks for the answer accept! Glad it was helpful. –  Matt Aug 25 '10 at 21:48
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To me, its clutter and stepping on the toes of the browser. Like having your own bookmark control. Or having a "launch new window" control. Or a back button. Or a delete the cookies I track button. The browser does its job and you do your job.

If you insist on putting it there, try and track usage over a week...see how many people care.

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FWIW, in over 15 years of browsing, I have never once clicked on the AAA font resize button. –  Hisham Aug 21 '10 at 19:24
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@Hisham - do you have any visual impairments? –  Sniffer Aug 24 '10 at 12:00
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Two reasons for allowing the user to select the font size on your site:

  1. It only affects your site and not all sites viewed in that browser or tab.

  2. You keep control over how your site looks with all the different font sizes.

Reasons for not having the control:

  1. As you've already mentioned most (if not all) modern browsers let the user zoom in and out.

  2. You've less code to maintain as you don't have to check on what font size is required and possibly store that preference across sessions.

I still see the control (or it's equivalent) on a significant number of sites, so for some people the reasons for still outweigh the reasons against.

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Within IE 8, if you zoom in on one tab it doesn't affect the zoom level on other tabs. Of course, that's just one browser. –  Ryan Shripat Aug 21 '10 at 13:01
    
@Ryan - same is true in Chrome - I'll update the answer –  ChrisF Aug 21 '10 at 14:08
    
Same in Safari & Firefox. In Chrome, it will change the size of all windows in the same domain. E.g. if you have 2 google.com windows open & you resize one, the second one will resize as well, but not any other browser windows. –  Hisham Aug 21 '10 at 19:22
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I have another consideration - novice users might not be aware of the resizing capabilities of browsers, so if you suspect the site it both meant for user and the font size might be problematic - keep the control.

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Or, don't have a control, but have an explanation of how to adjust the font size using the browser and help solve the root of the problem! :-) –  Rahul Aug 22 '10 at 22:18
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