Firefox and Safari, implement the Zoom feature!

Say that you’re using a web page and you find the text, the images or the layout in general too small. What do you do? Some web browser makers understand just how important this issue is and some don’t; some have set a good example and some still linger on under the impression that being able to resize text is sufficient.

Who are the good guys here? Microsoft and Opera.

To my knowledge, Opera implemented the Zoom feature a long time ago and Microsoft made the excellent move of following this with their IE 7 release. The whole basis of a Zoom feature is that everything in a web page scales proportionally, making everything bigger or smaller, according to your liking. As opposed to just text resizing, which normally results in giant fonts in fixed pixels-columns, this is useful for every end user no matter how poor the the web site is coded.

Interesting to note here is that the two web browsers that support this are both on Windows (and Opera on Linux as well); no web browser supports this on a Mac!

The zoom feature in IE 7

A picture of the Zoom feature in Internet Explorer 7

The zoom feature in Opera 9

A picture of the Zoom feature in Opera 9

Keyboard and mouse shortcuts

In both IE 7 and Opera 9, you can hold down the Ctrl key while scrolling with the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

Keyboard shortcuts for IE 7

Zoom in respectively out: Ctrl + +/-.

Restore it to the default 100% zoom: Ctrl + 0.


Keyboard shortcuts for Opera 9

Zoom in respectively out: +/-.

Restore it to the default 100% zoom: * (in my opinion, this is a bad choice since it doesn’t work on non-English keyboard layouts).


Default Zoom settings

Well hidden away, in Internet Options in IE 7 and Preferences in Opera 9, you have the possibility to decide what the default zoom setting for newly opened tabs should be.

It can be found for IE 7 under Internet options > Advanced > Accessibility:

A picture of the Internet Options dialog in Internet Explorer 7

It can be found for Opera 9 under Preferences > Web pages:

A picture of the Preferences dialog in Opera 9

A Web Developer and designer perspective

A fantastic benefit of the Zoom feature is to finally be able to make the designers happy. If you have a design of a web site where everything on it has a relation to the other parts, for instance, with a nice grid system layout, everything will still look the same! No relations lost! Only difference is that it will be bigger or smaller.


Firefox and Safari, step up! Implement the Zoom feature now! Put the end users in control of their web surfing! Everyone, end users, web developers and designers alike, will be happy, grateful and will spread the name of your product!


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Posted in Developing,Technology,Web browsers |

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