A reply to recent posts about text-sizing being necessary, and outlining why responsive design works better with zoom.
Taking my arguments about pixels being relative another step, the CSS pixel sizes that device makers use actually tell us the distance away from your eye that they think you should hold a device. Applying a bit of maths lets us work out what that distance is.
Daniel Davis posted a simple survey of screen sizes which jogged my memory and I thought I would add some more data. I looked at the Google Analytics (GA) for a site I have access to with traffic in the low millions per month, and took a sample of that for December.
The recent 'vexing viewports' article on Alistapart is a call on device manufacturers to choose a reasonable CSS-pixel resolution for each device so that responsive design works. This is something I totally agree with and support, but I'm not sure the iPad mini example they use is as clear it seems.
I keep reading recommendations for using EMs or other typographical units for layout, which I still don't understand. At best it is an extra layer of abstraction, at worst it is misleading and likely to cause more issues than it solves. I will try to demonstrate why pixels are the best relative unit.
Layout methods in web design have gone through a transition in the last few years, unfortunately we're still using floats a lot, but flexible layouts have made a comeback in the form of responsive design - which is great. Recently though, I have been puzzled by people suggesting that we should use EMs for layout...
I've noticed a bug in Webkit browsers that impacts accessibility: Zooming in does not trigger media queries. Responsive design techniques can really help people who zoom in with their browser, but not in Chrome or Safari at the moment.
I noticed something in the browser stats before I noticed it on my laptop - Google's Chrome doesn't ask you about updates. I knew, almost subconsciously, that there was a Google updater programme running. However, I didn't realise the impact it could have on web development, and potentially users as well.