IE7 Accessibility zoom and text sizing

Written By: Peter Abrahams
Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.
Also posted on: Accessibility

I have just installed IE7, the long awaited new browser from

One of the new features, that I discovered by chance (it is not
mentioned in the welcome to IE7 blurb) is zoom. Zoom increases the
size of the page up to 10 times. This is a very useful feature
because not only does it increase the size of the text much more
than text sizing, but it also increases the size of the images.
Obviously the images get pixellated if you zoom too much but with
cleartype the text quality is retained right up the range.

The problem with zoom is that the page expands horizontally as
well as vertically so you have to use the horizontal scroll bar to
see the full page. This is inconvenient if you are reading text
that spreads across the page.

I often increase the text size in IE6 (and Firefox) because I
find increasing the text size a notch or two makes it much more
comfortable to read and the whole page is still visible left to
right. In IE6 I could do that very easily for individual pages or
sites by using the shortcut ctrl + mouse scroll wheel or ctrl + (+,
-, 0).

In IE7 these shortcuts are now used for zoom. The first problem
with this was I got confused because I did what I automatically do
and something different happened. The second problem is, in order
to use text sizing I need either to use the mouse to go through the
menu bar or use the keyboard alternative i.e. alt, v (for view), x
(for text size), g (for largest) which is less convenient than ctrl
and the scroll wheel.

So I will give Microsoft two and a half cheers for zoom which I
think is an excellent addition.

But a ‘could do better’, firstly for not telling me
of the change and secondly for not thinking through the text sizing
completely. I would suggest that they make two
changes—firstly to provide short cut keys for text sizing
(the obvious candidates are ctrl+shift (+, -, 0), secondly to allow
text sizing up to 10 times like zoom.

Any comments or views you have on IE7 and accessibility would be

Finally, FireFox 2.0 is out very shortly so I will add an entry
to this blog about its accessibility features.