Web Browser Usability Issue
I just wanted to voice my concern that even though Internet Explorer is working on version 8 and Firefox into its terrible 2’s already, the browser designers are still missing a massive usability issue. One of the most common tasks when browsing the internet is adjusting text size and I believe this isn’t given enough emphasis.
The issue has worsened in recent years probably due to the popularity of laptops and flat screen monitors with their higher resolutions. With a budget £350 laptop from Tesco’s coming as default 1280 x 1024, the default browser text size is tiny. I know my grandad bought one, it is with him in mind that I make my plee.
Plee to the Browser Gods
Please give more emphasis to enlarging text and stop hiding this functionality in a drop down menu out the way, I know Internet Explorer 7 brought text size a little more into the limelight but I truly think this issue is being ignored and from my personal experience most new internet users, especially of the older generation are still having to search through their browser drop down menus to enlarge text.
You must remember that as we age often our memory span is affected, so lets make this change before I have to struggle too, as I also resize text often on the web.
The power of text size is with the web designer and I’m afraid their are still a lot of websites still have a very small text size, for me even our beloved A List Apart the text size is too small, I enlarge it.
Common text symbolism
A lot of users already associate certain symbols with text and any of these could be used as an icon on the web browser to signify text adjustment:
In Microsoft’s Word and other popular Microsoft office software the text is adjusted by a single capitalized “A”, It’s probably an “A” as this is the first letter of the alphabet.
Personally I prefer Adobe Photoshop CS3’s function of using a capitalized “T”. The “T” must stand for “text”. Strangely enough in Adobe’s CS3 suite; Fireworks uses an “A” to add text and Photoshop uses a “T” to add text.
If you search around hard enough you’ll also find some websites using either 3 T’s or 3 A’s signaling the various levels of text adjustment.
I have watched my Grandad, my mum, dad, friends and peers that are new and even competent in web browsing struggling to read the text on websites, I adjust the text size often too, I believe this function should be given greater emphasis and its own symbol or icon in the main visible section of web browsers. Your thoughts on my ranting please?