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Zooming is ambigous

Posted

The current use of the term "zoom" in the mobile web browser is different than the the use of zoom in desktop Firefox, something which I think is both confusing and unfortunate.

The zoom in Firefox mobile is defining a "view-port" into a preflown page and does not reflow the page. Zooming in desktop Firefox on the other hand is changing the font size and is triggering a reflow of the page. Moreover, in contrast to the desktop Firefox zooming, there is no stickyness of the zoom factor so that when moving to a new web page you have to redo the zoom.

Consider e.g. a visit to Wikipedia. The initial view, with the initial font size is nearly illegible to me. So I can zoom by clicking the text body, but I still think the font is too small. So I zoom further by pressing Ctrl-Up. But now I no longer see the entire line without doing horizontal scrolling.

This could e.g. be solved in two ways:

1. Add a method for zooming the font size. E.g. in the right margin bar add buttons (+) and (-) or add some short cuts.

2. Add a shortcut for "reflow to current displayed window width". In which case the current zoom factor would be kept but the rendering margin would be changed.

The current use of the term "zoom" in the mobile web browser is different than the the use of zoom in desktop Firefox, something which I think is both confusing and unfortunate. The zoom in Firefox mobile is defining a "view-port" into a preflown page and does not reflow the page. Zooming in desktop Firefox on the other hand is changing the font size and is triggering a reflow of the page. Moreover, in contrast to the desktop Firefox zooming, there is no stickyness of the zoom factor so that when moving to a new web page you have to redo the zoom. Consider e.g. a visit to Wikipedia. The initial view, with the initial font size is nearly illegible to me. So I can zoom by clicking the text body, but I still think the font is too small. So I zoom further by pressing Ctrl-Up. But now I no longer see the entire line without doing horizontal scrolling. This could e.g. be solved in two ways: 1. Add a method for zooming the font size. E.g. in the right margin bar add buttons (+) and (-) or add some short cuts. 2. Add a shortcut for "reflow to current displayed window width". In which case the current zoom factor would be kept but the rendering margin would be changed.

Additional System Details

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1.6) Gecko/20100107 Fedora/3.5.6-1.fc12 Firefox/3.5.6 GTB6

More Information

Question owner

Any comments? Should I file this in Bugzilla?

I was trying to see if I can override any values within about:config, but on Firefox mobile, no matter of long clicking or double clicking could would enter editing of the values.

Any comments? Should I file this in Bugzilla? I was trying to see if I can override any values within about:config, but on Firefox mobile, no matter of long clicking or double clicking could would enter editing of the values.

Question owner

(I made an error in the email in the previous post - please ignore).

Any comments? Should I file this in Bugzilla?

I was trying to see if I can override any values within about:config, but on Firefox mobile, no matter of long clicking or double clicking could would enter editing of the values.

(I made an error in the email in the previous post - please ignore). Any comments? Should I file this in Bugzilla? I was trying to see if I can override any values within about:config, but on Firefox mobile, no matter of long clicking or double clicking could would enter editing of the values.

Question owner

I agree with Dov that this is important. The iPhone browser has the same problem but the N900's browser can both zoom and resize text. It's good to have both.

I agree with Dov that this is important. The iPhone browser has the same problem but the N900's browser can both zoom and resize text. It's good to have both.

Question owner

Hi Dov, Actually I'm not sure if there's any mobile browser now that can do the same kind of zoom (that includes reflowing) that is possible on a desktop. I don't think I've seen it in any of the 10-15 different mobile browsers I've tried on different devices (including MicroB). In fact, do they ever not render the text width to a fixed value, according to the size of the device's screen? However, you've got a point there, it shouldn't be too hard to implement, but then why hasn't anybody done it before? What bugs me more than the way zooming affects (or doesn't affect) the layout, is that there is just the one way of zooming, i'd like to use the volume rocker or circular motion on screen, like in MicroB.

Hi Dov, Actually I'm not sure if there's any mobile browser now that can do the same kind of zoom (that includes reflowing) that is possible on a desktop. I don't think I've seen it in any of the 10-15 different mobile browsers I've tried on different devices (including MicroB). In fact, do they ever not render the text width to a fixed value, according to the size of the device's screen? However, you've got a point there, it shouldn't be too hard to implement, but then why hasn't anybody done it before? What bugs me more than the way zooming affects (or doesn't affect) the layout, is that there is just the one way of zooming, i'd like to use the volume rocker or circular motion on screen, like in MicroB.

Question owner

Reflow is in android browsers (zoom in and the browser will reflow the text if it would flow over the screen) and both opera mobile and opera mini reflow the text (when load the page) so it have less width than the actual page, so when you zoom in with double tap, the font size will be big enough to read.

It would be time consuming to elaborate this, just try these browsers to see how it works.

Reflow is in android browsers (zoom in and the browser will reflow the text if it would flow over the screen) and both opera mobile and opera mini reflow the text (when load the page) so it have less width than the actual page, so when you zoom in with double tap, the font size will be big enough to read. It would be time consuming to elaborate this, just try these browsers to see how it works.

Question owner

The N900's built-in browser also does text resize, so I was surprised that Firefox Mobile did not. At the moment, the built-in browser is better than Firefox Mobile, though FM does a slightly better job of laying out complex pages. There's still work to be done on FM.

The N900's built-in browser also does text resize, so I was surprised that Firefox Mobile did not. At the moment, the built-in browser is better than Firefox Mobile, though FM does a slightly better job of laying out complex pages. There's still work to be done on FM.