Default font size in gnome

Ryan Hayle hackel+ubuntu-devel-discuss at
Fri Feb 27 04:04:13 UTC 2009

On 26/02/09 20:43, Felix Miata wrote:
> "Visually impaired" is most older users, which you will probably be someday,
> and and shouldn't be equated to handicap. They don't necessarily consider
> themselves impaired. Many have the money for the better stuff, and aren't
> pleased to pay more for an inferior experience.

Like I said, I truly don't want to alienate any users or act like an 
arrogant youth!  I'm hoping we'll see more development of scalable UIs 
to help these people out even more.

> I think your majority is a majority of young people. We're not talking
> extremely here. Scientific studies (hard to find, but they're out there) have
> shown that most people (not a group skewed to the younger than average, with
> their better average vision) prefer 12pt, and recommend 10pt as a minimum.
> Funny how 12pt (which on Windows by default is usually 16px, on Mac always
> 16px) is by far the most common default web browser default font size.

Did this study take DPI into account though?  I agree that most people 
(myself included, until recently) think of 10pt as a minimum, but only 
because it looks so small on Windows.  It seems really odd for me to be 
setting 7.5pt fonts in Ubuntu (my current default at 147 DPI), as 
intuitively I think this should be unreadable, yet it's not at all.  I 
think it will take a while to change people's perceptions about this 
because of the damage MS has caused.  No one knows what point sizes mean 

Doesn't  Firefox default to a 16pt default proportional font size?  This 
seems really huge to me, no doubt a result of all those Windows web 
designers who think everyone's on 96 dpi.  People using pixel-size fonts 
on the web are the worst for us high-DPI users!

> True. In making the decision, it needs to be kept in mind the 
> difference in
> comparative impact, and the side effects. Fedora, openSUSE&  Mandriva I also
> use, and they all have long and still default to 10pt as the primary desktop
> and menu font size. If *buntu uses 9, you induce older users gravitate to the
> others, and/or induce those older users who try *buntu say it's too hard to use.
> "Big" is good:

That's a fair point.  I would hope that there would continue to be 
consensus across distributions for the default.  I am assuming those 
dists were defaulting to 10pt 96dpi as well, though I could be wrong.

On 26/02/09 21:12, Chris Cheney wrote:
> Agreed and as Windows doesn't seem to actually be moving in the
> resolution independent direction, at least anytime soon, due to backward
> compatibility with third party apps. So I don't think dpi is going to
> increase significantly more any time soon as Ryan seemed to think.
> Here are some interesting articles about High DPI from the Microsoft
> perspective.

Well, I will admit that I ignore the "Microsoft perspective" entirely.  
MS put us into this mess, we can't expect them to get us out of it!  I 
wasn't aware of these high-resolution screens in the past, so I thought 
they were gradually getting higher as the technology improved, but I do 
see your point.  I hope that they get back on track now with scalable UIs.


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