Browser Zoom Factor

In the summer of 2015 I noticed our Flash application looked slightly different in the Chrome browser. Since it was very subtle and I usually develop using IE 11, it didn’t really pique my interest. Around the same time I had also heard some complaints about blurry images on some newer laptops.

Fast forward to February 2016…

While researching a bug related to a Flash Player change, see my post Flash Problems I uncovered a new feature that was slowly added to Flash Player over a few different versions called, Browser Zoom Factor. The feature will scale a Flash application using the browser’s scale setting. It was first introduced in Flash Player 18, but at that time it was always on for supported browsers and there was no way to shut it off. In the fall of 2015 in Flash Player 19 developers were given a parameter for disabling the zoom factor.

It turns out the weirdness I was seeing in Google Chrome was caused by the browser zoom factor. By default my installation was always zooming to 85%, which in turn zoomed the application to 85% making the logo a little less clear and making the view a little bit smaller than in IE 11. Of course my instinct was to turn this off, because I didn’t want somebody to unexpectedly see the application with blurry images, so I added the special parameter to shut browser zoom factor off.

Fast forward three weeks…

Our IT department started rolling out Microsoft SurfaceBook to a few employees for a trial and within a couple days I received a complaint that our application was “unusable” on a high resolution display. I ran over to see the situation, because I had never seen our application on a high resolution display. He was right the application was so small on the SurfaceBook and was extremely hard to use. At that point I realized I had forgotten about using the browser zoom factor in the other direction.

In the end I turned the browser zoom factor feature back on for our application so user can zoom in or out as needed. I know at some point a defect will be filed about the images looking terrible, but at least push it back and have the user not zoom in so much.