Last night, I was sitting back on the couch watching TV in the dark with two sleeping kittens on my lap – exhausted after a rousing hour or so of devouring boiled chicken then running around the couch jumping on anything that dared move or look like it might move. Umm, that was the kittens that were exhausted from doing that, not me…
Anyway, I had my TabletPC on the coffee table running on batteries and I could only just reach the mouse. I was trying to read my RSS feeds without disturbing the purring pile of fur, and as I jacked up the font-size to “massive” so I could easily read it an arms length away, it occurred to me that web designers who make sites with stuff set in tiny pixel fonts probably had never tried to do what I was doing right then. Tiny text looks ok on your nice shiny big bright LCD screen when it’s 30 centermetres from your nose and you’re sitting right in front of it. It doesn’t look so hot on a device with a 10.4″ LCD with the brightness down to conserve battery life, 60 centermetres away on a coffee table in the dark.
I also had the thought that it was my own extreme geekiness that was my main concern when designing for accessibility. I changed the layout on this very site so that it would comfortably fit into 768×1024 resolution wihtout sideways scrolling (my Tablet PC has this bass-ackwards resolution in portrait or “slate mode”). I made the text what I consider a reasonable size, but which I know certain designers would think was too big. If these measures also make the site more accessible for people with visual impairments, that’s nice, but it’s not my main reason for doing it.
So there you have it folks. Rather than a community-minded responsible web developer, I’m just a self-centered gadget freak. But it has the same net result.