Barriers to Entry #1
Was at my parents’ house last night after trick or treating and “fixed” the resolution in use for their new LCD monitor (was set to 1024×768 instead of 1280×1024, a huge pet peeve for me). I turned on large icons and fonts and rebooted, thinking everything was the same size, and shouldn’t be a problem. Lo and behold, when my dad sat down, he promptly reset the display resolution because “the fonts were too small.” After exercising the tech support “report to reality translation” part of my brain for a while, I discovered that the fonts he was having trouble with were in Firefox (which wasn’t open still), in the content pane (not the desktop icons he was pointing at). Another 25% bump in the Firefox fonts pane and a judicious setting of a minimum font size later, we were in business, and he was finally able to accept that maybe LCDs needed to be run at native resolution.
The moral of the story? Having to remember to set the font sizes in Firefox separately was a barrier to entry for my dad running at native resolution, and other users with those settings already cranked who try Firefox might not find the font prefs, or even figure out that they exist, before they just decide to go back to IE because “I can’t read webpages in Firefox.” In an ideal world we pick up changes to system font sizes and follow the OS lead, but I don’t know how that particular piece of voodoo works. It does strike me, as we move towards higher resolutions in the same physical space (think 1920×1200 on a 15.4″ laptop display) that this is something we need to figure out.
More thoughts on this later.