Personally, since reading the book and even before that, I’ve made programming flexible and scalable (aka bulletproof) designs one of my top priorities.
The only trouble is I find it takes a whole lot longer to program something to be bulletproof, than it does just to whip it up the old fashioned way. It’s absolutely worth it, but it’s a lot more fiddling with images and extra markup in any case, which takes time.
Now, the aim for many of these bulletproof techniques is to keep your site design together when the browsers text is resized. Take a look at Dan’s site and resize the text in Firefox as an example of a great bulletproof design (he is the author after all!).
If you have a copy of IE7 installed, try bringing up Dan’s site and resizing the text again in there. See the difference?
IE7 has taken on something called “page zoom” which basically resizes everything on the page in unison. The first time I saw this was in Opera, and it’s a really nice feature. So instead of the text on your page bursting at the design seams when it’s resized, all the containing boxes and graphics will also resize at the same time.
When Opera was the only browser using page zoom it didn’t really matter, as Opera only counts for a very small percentage of users. Now that IE7 is using page zoom, it becomes a very different matter. We may end up with 70-80% of web users with page zoom as their default behavior.
If Firefox chipped into that, and switched to page zoom in their next version, we’re looking at perhaps 95% of internet users with page zoom instead of simple text resizing.
If that becomes the case, then would it be right to say that it’s pointless to do the extra work to make your designs bulletproof for text resizing? I personally think so.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself a little, it’ll take some time before IE7 picks up and overtakes IE6 as the major player. Its numbers however are moving fast thanks to the Windows automatic updates feature (and the fact IE6 is a security train wreck). IE7’s page zoom is also not up to the standard of Opera’s just yet.
So for now at least, I’m continuing with the good practice of bulletproofing for text resizing. I’m sure however, that in the next year or so, the practice will become close to redundant. Then we can all relax knowing that our sites will look great at any size.
At least, until we start talking about resolution independence. 😉