Full-page zoom

I was designing a site in my free time, and I ran into an issue with the first images I put in. I hadn’t set the height anywhere, but they were bigger than they should be. I had to manually give them a smaller size, to make them fit.
As it turned out, I wasn’t using my computer, and so I was using the portable Google Chrome 2.0 from my flash drive. I usually use 1.0 at home, so I can be sure that what is seen by my browser is what will be seen by other users of chrome (2.0 only has a couple tenths of a percent, right now). I got it for my flash drive because I wanted to see the newer features, and because I could keep several different versions.

In 2.0, as well as in most other browsers, a full-page zoom is used. That means everything is resized, including images, even if you don’t use ems in your styles.
What that also does, however, is increase background images and other things that can’t stand the stretching. This laptop has nothing but paint, so I had to hand-draw a horrible dither pattern instead of using an alpha gradient. because the dither is made of individual pixels, any stretching (and thus blurring) is incredibly noticeable.
It’s good to increase pictures and elements (things get squished, otherwise), but one might make an exception when it comes to background images. For an example, I once had a largish image in the background of a sidebar, so that someone with a larger text size would see more of the image. If full-page zoomed, all they would get is a pixelated, smaller image.
Borders, as well, tend to be made for specific widths. Here it’s a bit more acceptable, because a continuous pattern isn’t lost by a bit of scrunching, and most borders use a gradient that suits a smoothing filter just fine.

In certain cases, though, there must be a way to disallow an image from being full-page zoomed. The only reason the full-page zoom is there, of course, is that a great many developers don’t have either the resources or the skill to size everything in ems instead of px, which constitutes a failing on the developer’s part. Browsers add full-page zoom because they found it’s needed and that a lot of people don’t allow it in their code.
And I don’t blame them. What we need, though is some form of opt-out option. If the problem is that people usually don’t do something, fix that, but then let the people who do do something to do something to make things the way they should be.

In that light, I’m going to have a look to see if there’s any way I can disallow full-page zoom on certain elements. At worst, I suppose I could disable it for the page, but I always size with ems, anyway, so that would be fine.

On a final note, I think the best idea is to set your browser’s text size the way you want it, so that things are initially rendered at the size you want. That way, you don’t need zoom.
(The problem with that, of course, is that you get the effect of your default level being like a non-full-page zoomed with the non-em-sized images being far too small. I guess it’s a matter of delicate balance.)


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