Make It Easy to Read

Happy New Year, and best wishes for a prosperous 2017! And, to get things off to a good start, I’ll post a short, New-Year’s-related rant about accessibility – please make your products/articles easy to read.

Off to a Good Start

Despite a nasty head cold, my first day of 2017 started out pretty well. The only thing that I had to drink last night was NyQuil, so there was no hangover to deal with.

After breakfast, I decided to do some work on my website – an ongoing project!

Changing the Year

To keep my website looking fresh, I changed the year in the footer library, and uploaded all the revised pages. That went very smoothly – I love Dreamweaver 2015!

Next, I got the 2017 Milk Calendar, and put it on the wall beside my desk, about 3 feet away from my eyeballs. We always have one in the kitchen, and got an extra one this year, for my office.

What Day Is It?

Well, it’s a lovely calendar, with beautiful photos of food that looks delicious. Unfortunately, the dates are in a very narrow font, and I can’t clearly read the numbers, even from 3 feet away. A wall calendar should be legible from a short distance, if it’s any use at all.

Maybe the younger people can read it, but my eyesight has gotten much worse in the past 1-1/2 years, due to an interesting assortment of eye afflictions.

Calendar Plan B

Fortunately, a kindly real estate agent had dropped off a calendar at the door (or in bulk mail), so I’m using that instead. It has nice big numbers, with with a wide font, and very dark font colour. Thank you real estate agent!

Here’s the comparison – Milk Calendar on the left, and real estate calendar on the right. There are strange shadows, but the calendar on the right has solid white background, and the milk calendar is mottled light blue.

calendar font comparison

Make It Easy To Read

Whether you’re creating printed material, or posting something on the Internet, please make it easy to read. Use a big font, wherever possible, and use high contrast between the font and the background. Dark grey font on medium grey background might look soothing, but is impossible for many people to read.

I’ve tried to do that on my Contextures website and my blogs, so that visitors will find that information easy to read. But I run into lots of other sites where my blurry vision can’t read the content. It might be the best information in the world, but it’s no use to me.

And Fix Your Software Too

And one more request for making things accessible – please use large fonts in your software too – I’m looking at you Microsoft Excel!

Today, while working on a query in Microsoft Access, I had to change a calculation. So, I clicked on the formula, and press Shift + F2 to open the Zoom box. In there, I changed the font to 14 pt, so I could easily see what I was doing.

How about adding some of those Zoom boxes in Excel? If I’m working on a Data Validation formula or Conditional Formatting rule, I have to copy and paste to Notepad++ or to a worksheet cell, and change the font size.

End of Rant

Thanks for listening, and I’m sure the rest of 2017 will be smooth sailing, with no reasons for ranting.






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