Blue Riggs (no relation), “screen-magnification user,” in a video (RealPlayer) on Web accessibility:

Screenshot of bearded man seated at large-screen monitor with enlarged text. Caption reads: Letters that are written in cursive or in italics are often extremely hard to read, particularly if the colo[u]rs aren’t contrasted well

Well, whose fault is that?

I’ve never met a screen magnifier that polled the underlying outline-font file to redraw the zoomed fonts. Every device I’ve seen simply zooms the already-drawn bitmaps. Everything looks simply awful on ZoomText (old versions – Version 9 fixes it), and that fact invalidates the concerns, so often repeated that they have the appearance of truth, that pictures of text should never be used because they become unreadable when zoomed. (They work just fine. Try Opera’s or IE7’s page-zoom feature if you don’t believe me. Besides, why do we have alt and title?)

There are less-bad implementations, including the zoom built into OS X Tiger:

Screenshot showing cursive and sansserif and serif italic text at high magnification

Everything stands to be improved. But we simply are not going to stop using italics because somebody’s adaptive technology isn’t up to snuff. A user CSS file can turn off italics forever, at some cost to the actual meaning of text. Cursive fonts? There are maybe five of us who use them.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.01.11 14:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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