Last night, I tweeted:
I increase the font size of at least 1/3 of the web sites I visit.
You can joke about my declining eyesight all you want. But you can’t ignore this:
What 12px Text Used To Look Like
On a 14.1″ PowerBook G3 (Pismo)
What 12px Looks Like Now
On a 15.4″ MacBook Pro
Pretty shocking huh? Why is the text getting smaller? Because notebook screens are staying the same size (or getting smaller) while screen resolution gets sharper.
My beloved PowerBook G3 Pismo had a 14.1″ (diagonal) screen. It had a 4:3 aspect ratio and maxed out at 1024x768. The actual height and width of the screen was 8.44″ tall and 11.25″ wide.
My new MacBook Pro has a 15.6″ screen. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio and maxes out at 1440x900. The actual height and width of the screen is 8.16″ tall and 13.06″ wide.
So, the new MacBook is wider, but actually shorter (over a quarter of an inch shorter, in fact). Despite the screen being shorter, it still vertically displays 132 extra pixels. So…
The pixels are getting smaller.
12 pixels on the new MacBook Pro translates to 0.109 inches. On the Pismo, 12 pixels measured at 0.132 inches. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you start stacking line of text upon line of text, it adds up. And I start page zooming.
For more on this topic, visit the Large Font Coalition.