Yawning Bread. 25 December 2007

Tips for the vision-impaired




I received a request from a vision-impaired reader to explain how he and others like him can enlarge the text they wish to read on websites, including Yawning Bread. There was some suggestion that I could put in some button on the webpages themselves.

Technical stuff like that, that involves writing software code, is beyond me; in any case, browsers provide the necessary options, and there is no need for me or any blogger to do it. Those controls provided by browsers are quite obvious and for a while I wondered why people still need to ask me, but I guess, if one is vision-impaired, it's a chore to even poke around various parts of the screen checking out the many available controls.

Expanding text

If you're using Mozilla Firefox version 2, the control can be found by pulling down from the "view" options of the upper toolbar. If one click on "Increase" does not give you a large enough text size, click it a second time.

Likewise, if you're using Internet Explorer 7, the control can be found by pulling down from "view".

Try that now, to see the effect.

Fruit vendor, Quiapo, Manila.

However, in both instances, only the text is enlarged. The graphics are not. For example, when you do either of the above, the accompanying screenshots and the picture on the right remain the same, even as these words that you are reading (and the caption to the picture) become bigger or smaller.


The end of the year is usually a slow news period. I will take the opportunity to address two recent queries.

This one is about bigger text size for vision-impaired readers.

The other one addresses a question raised after my article about taking your own self-portraits using an inexpensive camera.


Normally, this may not be a problem. However, some graphics are not photographs but tables and graphs. For example, changing the Text Size as described above does nothing to the table and graph about the consumer price index.

This will be a problem to the vision-impaired because the text in such graphics can be very small. 




Expanding graphics

If you need to expand the graphics, then Internet Explorer 7 has a control at its bottom right corner that allows you to do that. Look for where it says "100%", and click it.

Unfortunately, I can't find a similar control on Mozilla Firefox.

Please do not expect that pictures will remain sharp when you expand them. Most webmasters upload the minimum file size necessary for normal screen appearance in order to avoid slow download times. 

If by chance you come across a website that uses large file sizes even for small pictures, then yes, you will still get sharpness if you increase the zoom. To illustrate what I mean, see the difference by comparing the 2 pictures below of a street in Baclaran, Manila, when you zoom up to 300%.

Will not remain sharp when zoomed Will remain sharp for zooms up to 300%

* * * * *

Some readers may wonder how and why I found out about these controls in the first place. I'm not vision-impaired and I don't need to expand any webpage I encounter.

Well, here's the dirty little secret: porn. Some pictures are mighty interesting and one cannot resist zooming in the hope, usually dashed, of seeing more. Nothing like the quest for sexual gratification to motivate one to find out about the browser options available, eh? The moral of the story? Porn can be an educationally positive experience. Yeah!

Yawning Bread