Browser-Based Text/Font Size Switching: Dissatisfaction & Solutions

I am dissatisfied with some aspects of the approach that relies upon Web site visitors to use their Web browsers to change the size of Web site text.  I have attempted to solve the problems I perceive with this approach.  This post is a follow-up to my previous post entitled “Browser-Based Text/Font Size Switching”.

Reasons for Dissatisfaction with This Approach & Attempted Solutions

  • I think asking people to invoke a combined-key command with which they are unfamiliar, and with keys they do not use much, is confusing.
  • There are dozens of Web browsers.  Creating screen-shot based instructions for all of them is impractical.
    • I implemented a JavaScript application that displays a link to screen-shot based instructions only if visitors are using either Internet Explorer 8.x or Firefox 3.x.  If they are using another Web browser (or if they have JavaScript disabled) the page displays an instruction to refer to their Web browser’s help menu.
  • I created screen-shot instructions for Firefox 3.x and screen-shot instructions for Internet Explorer 8.x.  Their menus for adjusting text size are markedly different from those of their previous versions.  Many people do not use the latest versions.  Asking them to decide which to use of multiple sets of instructions, one for each previous Web browser version, would be very confusing.  Many people do not know what a Web browser is, let alone which version of it they are using.
    • The JavaScript application checks the visitor’s Web browser version.  If it is Firefox 3.x (the latest version), the page displays a link to screen-shot instructions for it.  I did the same for Internet Explorer 8.x (the latest version). If visitors are using an older version of either browser, the page displays textual instructions telling them how to use the old-style menus.
  • The screen shots for Internet Explorer are especially high/long.  It does not become apparent which menu to use until the visitor scrolls down the image(s).  This will likely be confounding.
    • I have no practical solutions for this.  Reducing the size of the images reduces their text size.  People who need to enlarge text size would not appreciate that.

I will consider how to improve this approach, or scrap it for something better.  As always, I am open to suggestions.

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