Most of the time resizing text is understood as the need to increase the text size for the user. People tend to think of this as an issue for older people and in most cases that is true. However, there are young/middle age people who have vision problems also. So a developer will implement a text resizer, similar to the example in the image on the right, and then everyone says “cool beans” the site has a text resizer. That issue is now resolved. I disagree. If you can’t read the text that says “text resizer” or “Increase/Decrease text size” then what good is the text resizer?
I’ve spoken with designers and other developers about this issue and most agree that the users should just use “Ctrl +”(increase the text size), “Ctrl -”(decrease the text size), and “Ctrl 0” (return the text back to its original size). A friend of mine, Trevor Davis even suggested that it would be useful to inform less savvy users about the tools already built in to the browser. I think the functionality should be built in to the default toolbar of all browsers.
The first option, forcing users to learn keystrokes, makes a sort of sense, but it doesn’t necessarily address the more point-n-click usability/functionality of today’s browsing. On an iPad (or other tablet) for example, you just swipe to zoom. Having to learn keyboard shortcuts seems a bit old-fashioned. If you’re going to provide a good experience for all users, no matter their knowledge level, it makes sense to make it easy for them.
How have you addressed this on sites you’ve built? What is your preference?