On-page font size adjuster vs browser zoom

On-page font adjustment graphic

Many browsers offer the ability to zoom in and out of a page, and some even allow for the ability to set a text-only zoom within the browser preferences. So why would we include an on-page font-size adjuster on all our ExpressionEngine websites?

In today's digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, serving as a vast source of information, entertainment, and connectivity. But amid the expansive world of websites and online content, there exists a challenge that often goes unnoticed: web accessibility for users with diminishing vision.

We've all experienced moments when we needed to adjust the font size or zoom in on a web page to make text more readable. This feature is a lifeline for individuals with diminishing vision, making it possible for them to continue enjoying online content. However, there's a catch: most web pages aren't designed to handle these adjustments gracefully.

The conundrum of zoom and font adjustments

When users with diminishing vision increase the font size or zoom in on a page, it can lead to unintended consequences. Subtle or extreme format shifts disrupt the original design of the page, undermining the integrity of the content and causing distractions. Menus become disjointed, lines of text overlap, and image quality degrades. These issues are not limited to poorly designed websites; even the most carefully prepared and screened pages can struggle to adapt to these adjustments.

So, what's the solution? The key lies in incorporating a practical on-page font-size adjustment component into web design. During the development phase, this component can be tested to identify potential issues and target specific areas where font size adjustments may be problematic.

Reducing reliance on browser zoom

The goal is to provide users with clear and accessible content directly on the webpage, reducing their reliance on the built-in browser zoom feature. By doing so, we not only enhance the user experience but also preserve the overall design of the website. Users are more likely to engage with content that is user-friendly, rather than wrestle with format shifts and distractions caused by external adjustments.

Incorporating these adjustments into the web design is not just about aesthetics; it's a matter of inclusivity. Allowing users to customize the font size to their comfort level is a user-centred design approach that acknowledges the diverse needs and preferences of the audience.

Accessibility features for a better web

This approach aligns with the principles of web accessibility. It recognizes that the web should be a space where everyone can access information and engage with content, regardless of their physical abilities. It's not only about font adjustments; it's about creating a more inclusive digital world.

So, the next time you're browsing the web, take a moment to explore the lower left-hand corner of your browser window. That's where you'll often find the controls for font-size adjustment. By using these features, you can take control of your online experience, making the web a more accessible and comfortable place for everyone.

What about SEO?

An on-page font adjuster, on its own, is not typically considered an SEO tactic. SEO primarily involves strategies and techniques used to improve a website's visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). These strategies typically revolve around optimizing content, improving website structure, building quality backlinks, and more. An on-page font adjuster is more related to user experience and accessibility.

However, an on-page font adjuster can indirectly impact SEO in a few ways:

  1. Improved User Experience

    When users can adjust font size for better readability, it enhances their experience on your website. A positive user experience can lead to longer time spent on your site and lower bounce rates, which are factors that can indirectly influence your SEO rankings.
  2. Accessibility

    Providing font adjustment options can make your site more accessible to a broader audience, including those with visual impairments. Google and other search engines take accessibility into account when evaluating website quality.
  3. Lower Bounce Rates

    When users can adjust font size to their preferences, they are more likely to stay on your site, engage with your content, and explore multiple pages. This can reduce your website's bounce rate, which is a positive signal for SEO.
  4. Social Sharing and Backlinks

    If users find your website's font adjuster and the content around it valuable, they might be more likely to share your content on social media or link to it from their own websites, indirectly benefiting your SEO efforts.

While an on-page font adjuster itself is not an SEO tactic, it's part of a broader strategy to enhance user experience and accessibility, which can positively impact SEO indirectly by improving various user engagement and site quality metrics. And that's why all our ExpressionEngine websites have an on-page font-size adjustor.


In conclusion, web accessibility is not an afterthought; it's a fundamental aspect of web design that ensures a clearer vision for all users, regardless of their visual capabilities. By making web pages accommodating to font and page zoom adjustments, we can create a more inclusive online environment where information is truly accessible to everyone.

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