Monday, March 15, 2010

Smartphones and Farsightedness

I am starting to get hit by farsightedness. Most of the time I do without reading glasses, but more and more I am noticing I dislike small type. I especially notice it when trying to read on my Android phone. Although there are some options for changing font size, they are limited, not so easily accessed, and not nearly granular enough. Normal is too small, but Large is too big. That is disappointing, although probably not too surprising, given the perceived demographics of Android users. I am curious whether BlackBerry is better, since it appeals to an older demographic.

Well-designed software takes advantage of the medium--software is soft--to allow the user to easily alter the type size to their liking. Firefox, with its CTRL-PLUS and CTRL-MINUS font-incrementing, sets the standard. This is an example of Bruce Tognazzini's teaching that, when designing products to be accessible (to people with handicaps or physical limitations), you actually make a product that is better for all users.

1 comment:

  1. I too am beginning to suffer more and more with small font. I've been slightly far sighted for a long time but hardly ever need to wear glasses.

    So, I have decided that the next phone I get will have a bigger screen as our eyes will only continue to degrade as the muscles in our eyes dry out and age. I may have to give up the 'fit in the pocket' for 'I can read the print easily' I guess.