The CSS pixel—denoted in CSS with the suffix
px—is a unit of length which roughly corresponds to the width or height of a single dot that can be comfortably seen by the human eye without strain, but is otherwise as small as possible. By definition, this is the physical size of a single pixel at a pixel density of 96 DPI, located an arm's length away from the viewer's eyes.
That definition, of course, leaves a lot of wiggle room, as the terms "be comfortably seen" and "an arm's length away" are imprecise, varying from person to person. When a user is sitting at a desk in front of a desktop, the display is generally substantially farther away from their eyes than when they're on a cell phone, for instance.
As such, it generally suffices to say that when the unit
px is used, the goal is to try to have the distance
96px equal about 1 inch on the screen, regardless of the actual pixel density of the screen. In other words, if the user is on a phone with a pixel density of 266 DPI, and an element is placed on the screen with a width of
96px, the actual width of the element would be 266 device pixels.
- CSS Length Explained on the MDN Hacks Blog