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Sites Deliberately Blocking Zoom

Should I report them for ADA violations?

     
5:28 am on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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With my eyes not being what they used to be, I find I often need to zoom in read some mobilesites, esp. crazy ones that have embedded screen shots and such that are just too tiny to read.

However, I keep running into sites that refuse to zoom so I took a peek at their source and found this little line of code that just about made me lose my mind:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no" />

It blocks people that need to zoom from being able to do so and I find it equally as heinous that Firefox supports such a command.

I didn't check Chrome or Safari, but the fact that it exists leads me to believe others probably support is as well which explains sites that refuse to zoom.

So here you are using your phone with no way to read the site.

Since it's deliberate, it's like they're deliberately telling people with bad eyes to go coitus themselves.

Makes me really tempted to forward a few domains to some blind rights groups or the ACLU just to show them what I think of that line of HTML and ruin their day.

Some accessibility issues I can live with, so you didn't add ALT text or something, but I can find workarounds.

But when it's a deliberate block to stop someone from being able to use accessibility tools, specifically ZOOM which is used by most over 40 plus everyone with eye problems.

Based on my recent web surfing it's an egregious trending practice that makes using more than a few sites inaccessible on mobile on purpose!

Why would anyone deliberately do that or is it just some web hack copied the code that doesn't know what that line of HTML is actually doing in the browser?

Either way, that line of code should be able to be disabled in the browser if it isn't already, or someone will need to set up a proxy site just to filter that for the vision impaired.

When I see things like this I just shake my head and wonder what people are thinking and the answer is obvious, they aren't.
6:28 am on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure you have noticed that some webmasters and designers think their sites were handed down from Above, so any modification in the interest of usability is nothing short of blasphemy. You say you're not comfortable reading articles in 11-point #777777 Courier*? Well, tough.


* It wasn't actually Courier but some other fixed-pitch font whose name I have blocked from memory. The horrendous part is that it uses a major CMS, suggesting that someone intentionally put together this visual package in the belief that it would appeal to ... well, someone, evidently.
7:45 am on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't have a cell, mobile, tablet (that;s mine) so correct me if I;m wrong, but do you (meaning the user) have no way to turn off page styles? So far I have not had a reason to look for that as I've not yet run into this... As for the Web, and browsers, most have the ability to turn off all page styling (that's the way I use WW, BTW) and get the text. At that point you can zoom to heart's content.

Having said that, if I ever encounter a site that will not allow me to defeat all their CSS artsy-fartsy, that's a site I will not revisit.
9:17 am on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but do you (meaning the user) have no way to turn off page styles


On mobile I'm not sure and capabilities change from browser to browser. But the only thing I could possibly do, assuming they have dual sites, separate desktop/mobile, would be to use the options to lie and tell it I was a desktop computer and then zoom the original site. Unfortunately that trick doesn't work with real RWD sites, like those built on bootstrap, because those sites don't base what they do on the user agent.

However, the meta tag I posted technically isn't a style, it's a viewport option that says show it at the max screen size and disable user resizing. I'm not sure disabling styles would disable that meta since it's not CSS whatsoever.

This might be the first time I've even paid attention to that meta as I had no use for it and never really noticed that was the problem until one particular website really ticked me off ;)

Why anyone would build a mobile site and statically size it really blows my mind unless they were trying to make it fake being an app, which I've also encountered, and this doesn't do that either.

The only thing I can come up with is it's just some really thoughtless web designer.

I'm sure karma will eventually bite those 20 somethings doing these meta viewport things to sites today. Some day soon they'll wake up unable to read small type without glasses. Maybe less than a decade later the cataracts will cause even more problems and without zoom they won't see squat. That's when 15+ years later they'll be posting a similar thread in this very forum. If I've expired by then, I hope that someone will remember this thread and post a link to it and add the obligatory "neener neener!" ;)
11:25 am on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I recently ran into an issue converting a WP theme to be responsive and found a minor issue in its bootstrap.min.css that was part of the theme. It had:
*/html{font-family:sans-serif;-ms-text-size-adjust:100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%}

and went off to find out what that was doing since it showed the fonts so teeny. This took me off to visit
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/text-size-adjust

So the problem was likely caused because I was not using the same web-font that it was built for (Oxygen) as the primary font. It is not a good time in the evolution of things to "make minor modifications"...

The text-size-adjust property allows Web authors to opt out from this behavior, as Web pages designed to handle small screen widths do not need it.
Notes:

This property is not standard. In order to use it, Web authors have to duplicate, or even triplicate it, prefixed for each engine supporting it.
Its behavior, and even the syntax, is slightly different from one browser engine to the other. Web developers should read the browser compatibility section with the required attention.
This property only has an effect on smartphones. As there is no inflation algorithm on desktop browsers, and on some tablet browsers like the iPad, the property is not supported there (and ignored). This property is only designed to opt out, or to cancel this opt-out, of the inflating behavior, not to opt in.
If -webkit-text-size-adjust is explicitly set to none, Webkit-based desktop and tablet browsers, like Chrome or Safari, instead of ignoring the property, will prevent the user to zoom in or out the Web page.#
Not all engines do allow to control the final size of the text using a percentage value (E.g. Webkit and Trident do allow it, Gecko doesn't). Again Web developers should read the browser compatibility section with the required attention.

(My emphasis)it is a real nightmare of non-standard standards that vary from one browser to another and are device dependent. No desktop browser supports percentages and Opera and Gecko based Mobile browsers do not support it - Android is unknown. I changed it to auto and the problem went away.
for me.
1:02 pm on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Its not the browser developers fault, it is ignorant designers who do not know what the user-scalable attribute is for.

It is not supposed to be used to preserve your previous design, it is supposed to be used for web apps (such as some games) that it would not make sense to zoon.

[dev.opera.com...]
3:30 pm on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes, you should report them, at least to themselves, for the violation. Let's guess 90% have no clue and 10% would change if they knew.

Anyway, there might be some things that help... depending

First, 456 Berea had an article about how iOS lets you consistently override it in your Accessibility settings (Settings > General > Accessibility) so that your device ignores the user-scalable attribute

[456bereastreet.com...]

It appears that in some cases, just using Jquery Mobile can cause this
[forum.jquery.com...]
4:36 pm on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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When i was researching viewport settings, there were people promoting scalable=no as a way to avoid having scroll bars on the desktop version of the site. Too many chefs in the kitchen.
6:01 pm on Feb 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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html{font-family:sans-serif;-ms-text-size-adjust:100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%}

Oh, yikes, that reminds me of the last time I changed Safari versions. At some time in the misty past, someone hereabouts advised me to say generically
body {font-size: 100%;}
for some reason I've now forgotten but which probably had to do with MSIE. Result in Safari 7: everything comes through in 11-point Lucida*. Thankfully it was only one line in one stylesheet per site. But I shudder to think how many people saw things in a grotesquely wrong way before I noticed.

caniuse.com says, helpfully,
There is a bug in Webkit-based desktop browsers. If -webkit-text-size-adjust is explicitely [sic]** set to none, Webkit-based desktop browsers, like Chrome or Safari, instead of ignoring the property, will prevent the user to zoom in or out the Web page.

Double yikes.


* Weirdly, this also happens in SubEthaEdit's web preview, which uses webkit. Each time I move to a new version I have to find and edit the plist file. But it didn't happen in Safari <7, which is what makes it inexplicable.
** At this point I took a further detour to look for-- but not find-- contact info. Grr.
3:30 am on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Too many chefs in the kitchen


Hardly.

More like line cooks at a greasy spoon. :D

I need to find out if all the mobile browsers have overrides and if they don't, I'm going to have to alert them to the errors of their ways.