Text Reflow and mobile user experience

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Whenever I go through the features of a mobile app that involves consumption of text e.g. web browser, email client, or document reader, once I come across a statement that says there’s no text reflow, I forget about the app immediately. Text reflow is the ability to the ability of text to wrap, or adjust, itself to an allotted space, especially when the user zooms in on content. Because of the limited size of mobile phone displays, I consider it an essential.

Without text reflow, the user has to side scroll line after line. Here is an example of what text looks like on a mobile screen when there is no text reflow:

No text reflow

Painful. Irritating. Time-consuming. This is 2014. As such, in my books, web browsers and email clients that do not support text reflow are an automatic fail. Nobody should be creating any mobile app that does not reflow text any more. That is so 2009.


  1. Totally same here. The absolute determinant for choosing a book reader, for me, is its ability to wrap while zooming.

    If it can not wrap contents steplessly, I go for something else. It is also the primary reason I would choose EPUB formats of ebooks (apart from size advantage), over PDP, as it is more amenable to wrapping.

    Ditto, Web browser. Having to pan left and right is is so tiresome.

    It would also be great if a server assisted browser like Opera mini can implement dynamic wrapping while -zooming..

  2. The topic is very much on point and luckily most apps these days include that option of text wrapping. And yes, .epub files are Hooghly adaptable to wrapping and dynamic wrapping while zooming. Depending on PDF reader too, dynamic wrapping while zooming can be supported too in what they generally refer to as reading view but the original document formatting is lost in the process.

    @ Eye.Bee.Kay, dynamic wrapping whole zooming on mobile browsers may not be feasible because page rendering happens server side and I think the only way that will be supported is by reloading the page from the server each time you apply zoom on the page you are viewing which will make for a poor u UX.

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