[whatwg] Features for responsive Web design

Stephanie Rieger steph at yiibu.com
Fri Aug 10 02:59:10 PDT 2012

On 10 Aug 2012, at 09:54, Florian Rivoal wrote:
> On Thu, 09 Aug 2012 11:29:17 +0200, Kornel Lesiński <kornel at geekhood.net> wrote:
>> On 8 sie 2012, at 12:57, "Florian Rivoal" <florianr at opera.com> wrote:
>>>>> Is there a good reason to believe that * will be something other than a
>>>>> power of two?
> I wasn't debating whether or not shipping a device with a 1.5 pixel
> ratio is the best decision, but answering: "Is there a good reason
> to believe that will be something other than a power of two?"
> The fact that it has happened seems a pretty good reason to believe
> that it may happen.

For reference, we are seeing *all sorts* of viewport and pixel density variations on Android devices. Low cost devices such as the Galaxy Mini have 240 hardware pixels but the default viewport (CSS pixels) has been set to a higher value of 320 pixels. 

This value was likely chosen not just to match the iPhone, but because it was needed to achieve comfortable legibility given the quality of the display. It does however result in an unusual ratio of 0.75.

As the Android platform also includes some incredibly robust user settings (and the granularity of these settings only seems to be increasing as the platform evolves) a user can easily reset these 320 CSS pixels back down to 240 or as high up as 940 (they won't know the exact number...the settings are simply labelled small, medium etc). 

Of course at 940 pixels, content on this device would be near illegible but this is just one example, of one setting, on one device. A given viewport adjustment may make little sense on a phone, but lots more sense on a completely different device (such as a seat-back display in a car or airplane).

While I hope viewport sizes will eventually standardize, the display is just one variable on a bill of materials. Given that manufacturers (and not just the ones that make phones) have the option to tweak the viewport in an effort to achieve a more comfortable pairing of hardware with software, unusual viewport sizes seem likely to remain a "coping strategy" for some time.


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