All posts in Web Design

Screenshots of an iPhone showing the broken background and the working background
Updated: 22nd Feb 2010
I experienced a slightly odd bug in the latest version of mobile Safari on iPhone where it was shrinking large background images applied via CSS to fit within the confines of the screen. Not finding anyone else who has written about this problem I thought I’d share my findings.

Firstly a bit of background, the company I am working for at the moment recently released a real-time CSS editor (of sorts) which I built that allows customers to style their sites using nothing more than uploaded images and some UI controls – for more details on that you can see a video of it in action on this blog post and some of the amazing results that customers have been able to achieve with it.

Yesterday one customer reported an issue where a large background image (1800×2520) was being shrunk on the iPhone. I did quite a lot of investigation and to cut a long-ish story short I discovered that there is a tipping point where the total pixel-area of an image causes mobile Safari to resize the image. This tipping point appears to be at 2,000,001 pixels.

Read on for a bit more of a breakdown of my experiment results.
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No IE for You!
The title of this post was going to be:

If Microsoft Insist On Making It Nigh-on Impossible For Us To Test IE Effectively Then Why Do They Think We Should Bother Supporting It?

But I decided that was a bit too long, so I took inspiration from the soup kitchen chef instead, it’s more to the point.

Anyway the reason I’m back writing about adventures in IE testing land is I have a week of some horrid IE browser testing of my current, JavaScript heavy, project coming up if the first quick check through all versions of IE is anything to go by. Yes I know I should have been testing as I went along, but having to refresh 9 browsers with every change really kills my buzz (especially when 3 of those are IE).

So I did some initial browser testing last week and got zero issues in 6 browsers, but each version of IE threw up massive amounts of JavaScript errors — absolutely all over the place — and we all know how annoying debugging JS is in IE. This combined with my aging (and decidedly creaky) Windows XP Virtual Machine (running in Parallels on a Mac Pro with more than enough grunt to run multiple VM’s all at once) meant that tonight I decided to look for new alternatives (as multiple versions of IE on a single VM have never been great anyway).
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Screenshot of the Where To Start With homepage
I’d like to introduce to you my brand new site Where to Start With, which I have been working on in my spare time for a while (more on this in future posts).

The elevator pitch for Where to Start With goes like this:

Where to Start With helps you when you’re trying out new bands and artists by providing community-powered recommendations written by die hard fans.

If that new band you want to try has 10 CD’s out, then Where to Start With will give you… well, where to start with them!

The whole idea behind this site came from a need me and my friend found ourselves having; many times we would hear a song or read about a band that sounded interesting but then when we did go to try that band we would find they had a handful of releases out already. Where is the best place to start with them? Traditionally unless you got a specific recommendation for an album you would just try the lucky dip approach and hope you found a winner. If you got lucky you might have just found your new favourite band, however if you picked a rotten egg you may dismiss your potential new favourite band based on your opinion of one of their poorer releases.
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Pleasefixtheiphone.com screenshot
I just came across this great site via Techcrunch called "Please fix the iPhone". It’s basically a list of issues which people are having with the iPhone and allows you to vote on ones you’d like to have fixed.

It’s quite a nice idea and really well executed. What I really liked is the fact that they’ve obviously spent a little time designing this thing (both from a UI and functionality point of view). It’s really quite refreshing to see something like this appear in an era when most simple ideas I see like this end up running on a blog or a wiki platform.

So if you’ve got an iPhone head over there and vote, if you haven’t head over and take a look at the design.

I’ve just bought something from Amazon and something has happened that has happened to me every time I’ve used Amazon for the past few months. I’m not sure if it’s something they introduced recently or whether I’ve just not noticed it before but it’s bugged me one too many times so I’m going to moan about discuss it here.
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