June 25, 2007

I devise a test to see which presidential candidate cares most for the needs of older and disabled Americans.

Like many people, I can't see that well. Although I doubt that anyone would disagree that I have superior ability to perceive gestures and symbols in photographs and videos, I have trouble reading small print. So when I arrive at a website with small print, I hit "command + =" until I can read comfortably. Usually, this works. Sometimes it makes everything get out of line and become completely unreadable. What kind of campaign makes a website that instantly repels those of us with vision problems? Such callous disregard for our needs!

I'm writing about this now because I went to Barack Obama's website to try to find the full text (or video) of that religion-hijacking speech I just wrote about. His website fragments into chaos when I use my "command + =" approach. So let's test all major candidates.

Barack Obama: F. (Utter chaos.)

Hillary Clinton: C. (The various boxes remain fixed, some but not all of the text enlarges, and some enlarged text falls below the bottom line of its box.)

John Edwards: A. (The boxes stay put, and all the text enlarges. Terribly ugly website though, with way too much emphasis on fund-raising. )

Rudy Giuliani
: C. (Boxes stay fixed, some text enlarges, and text at the bottom overlaps with other text.)

John McCain
: B+. (Nearly everything enlarges properly.)

Mitt Romney
: B. (Things enlarge properly for the most part, but some words disappear under the boundaries. And let me add, though it's outside of the scope of this test, that I love the way the little figure of Mitt Romney strolls into the bottom right hand corner of the screen and starts haranguing me about what "some of our liberal friends" are doing.)

So which candidate cares most? Edwards! Least? Obama!

NOTE: I did this test on a MacBook, using both Safari and Firefox.

33 comments:

Justin said...

How much are you enlarging the text? When I tried it (on a PC using Firefox), they all became unreadable after five increases. But I'm sure that's more than most people need.

vet66 said...

You are expecting more precision than the subject matter allows. These are politicians, for GOD's sake! They assume that most people in the U.S. don't have computers, much less know how to use them.

I'm pretty sure they lumped those who are near-sighted in with the geezers in the "Next stop-Heaven" old folks home.

You are not in the sighted demographics they are appealing to. The good news is that you are in an alternate demographic, that being educated women with designer glasses, holding a good job and impressed by John Edwards young boy looks and $400 haircut-(I could just hug him so hard!)

Feel Better?

Terri said...

MS has left me with a condition known as optic neuritis. While age has also left me with the inability to see small text. The optic neuritis is a bigger problem because when it is flaring up I have problem seeing without good contrast. Dark text on light background=excellent. Websites that use color backgrounds with lighter or darker similar shades of text leave me blind. Personally? I don't really care about presidential candidates websites at all. I want to know who had the bright idea to start the campaigns two years ago. I am already sick of it. I know that no matter what they are saying today, it will change depending on the audience and the poll numbers. I've also come to the realization that my preferences in a president really don't matter. Politics has become one great big bashfest, and I am sick of it.

Too Cool for School said...

ha! I hope you're not complaining about it. Because that would be, you know, victim-centric. I'm all for accomodating the vision impaired, but accomodation of Firefox + Mac? Please. Get a PC. Everything will work.

MadisonMan said...

It's an interesting test to gauge the candidates' attention to detail -- or is it simply testing what kind of people they hire?

al said...

Get a PC. Everything will work.

C'mon. Everyone knows that the Mac is perfect and PC's spend all their time crashing, getting expensive upgrades, or whatever the annoying Mac commercials are whining about this week. :-)

On the other hand Obama's web site looks usable in Firefox on XP with a +5 magnification applied. Maybe the developer doesn't care about elitist Mac users.

Justin said...

Get a PC. Everything will work.

I haven't seen a good, old-fashioned Mac vs. PC flamewar in a long time.

PatHMV said...

There are accessibility standards written for the web, precisely to make sure things don't break when doing what you did. In addition to on-going work form the technical people at w3, the umbrella group for web standards, there's also regulation Section 508 which sets forth accessibility requirements for federal government websites. You'd think a candidate for federal office might have a staffer think of such things...

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Mine expanded with Control +=. So how do I get my screen to look right again?

Internet Ronin said...

Mine expanded with Control +=. So how do I get my screen to look right again?

You can't, Ruth Anne. You have to buy a new one.

MadisonMan said...

That's mean.

Ctrl - undoes what Ctrl + does.

John said...

Hmmm. I think you are doing something wrong. I use a Mac. I usually use Camino for ordinary browsing, but I just tried the first site in Firefox and it works find even after 5 zoom-ins. What version of OS X and Firefox are you running?
In any case how your Mac responds to a standard browser command has not got much to do with the particular website you are viewing.
Even if it were true that they had failed to pay attention as you suggest, it would just show they were technically illiterate, not ageists!

pepr said...

internet ronin
LMAO...A salesman at heart

George said...

You revise a list to see which residential mandates spares, what...what'd you say....would you please speak up...turn that television down...

Theo Boehm said...
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Maxine Weiss said...

"Although I doubt that anyone would disagree that I have superior ability to perceive gestures and symbols in photographs and videos,"

And yet--- a total lack of insight, and awareness, into your own behavior.

Doctors can't operate on themselves, I guess. Hairdressers can't do their own hair.

Love Maxine

Internet Ronin said...

Theo, based on your results then, Ann's test shows not which candidates care "most for the needs of older and disabled Americans," but which candidates care most for the 3% of the population using an Apple computer. Whether or not one views failure in this regard as a bad thing is probably dependent on one's view of cults. ;-)

Too Cool for School said...

told you so

Theo Boehm said...
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Internet Ronin said...

A lot of people believe BMW owners are a cult, too, Theo ;-) (They aren't, of course, because I own one and I would never belong to a cult.) I'm not surprised by that article about older folks preferring Macs, as I know that at least 1/3 of the members of our Model A club use Macs, and their average age is at least 70. (About 90% of club members now have email addresses.)

Steven said...

and are about 10% of all new PC sales.

Nope. 239 million new PCs shipped worldwide in calendar year 2006 (Gartner), while 5.3 million Macintosh units shipped worldwide in the same calendar year (summing from Apple 10-Q filings with the SEC; the 10-K uses the Apple fiscal year instead of the calendar year, which differ by three months).

That's 2.2%. When you see larger percentages for Apple, they're always qualified to mean some sub-segment of the market, or in dollar terms instead of units, or both.

This doesn't mean Apple's going bankrupt any time soon; Apple has high margins and a devoted customer base. It just isn't very big compared to the rest of the PC market. You know, just like IBM mainframes.

blake said...

And then we can argue vi vs. emacs....

k said...

OK, I was going to say Rah Rah to Pat, as everyone should pay attention to the Web standards that are out there for every designer to use. But this is too weird. I'm on a PC using Firefox, and Ann's comment page is all screwed up like I was messing with the type size. Only I wasn't! When I reduce it about five times, the spacing goes back to normal, but now I can't read the type without my reading glasses. What great irony! I don't know how you did that, Ann, but kudos!

TM Lutas said...

steven - Since this is about websites for US politicians, shouldn't the US market be the universe that matters? Apple sales have always skewed higher in the US and I don't think that Obama really wants to know that his website works better in the PRC (where there are few Macs sold) than in California (where plenty are sold).

Worldwide, Apple's never done very well in the 3rd world as they can't afford the price premium. White box computers are what dominate.

darkjethro said...

"So, does that mean a Toyota Corolla is better than a 720i?"

A 720 is BMW's largest, and heaviest, model sporting one of its smallest, and least powerful, engines.

If the yardstick is price, fuel economy, reliability, or total cost of ownership, I would pick a Corolla over a 720 any day.

Now, a Corolla vs. a 120? BMW all day long.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Steven said...

Given that I have a Mac OS X 10.3.9 and use it daily, hopefully I'm at least partly immunized to anti-Mac-ism charges?

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe since he isn't an official candidate yet, you didn't try Fred Thomson's site (I'm with Fred). But it seems to blow up fine with me on a PC w/Firefox 2.0. Note though that I wasn't using the hot keys, but rather buttons that I had downloaded as extensions (which is why I still use Firefox, even with IE 7 installed).

Changing tack a bit, I crank up the default font with Firefox to 18 pt. for proportional and 16 monospace, with 10 as a minimum. That means that I can usually read it w/o reading glasses or w/o contacts.

And, yes, web pages that don't display right with bigger fonts drive me crazy too. I am not quite to the point of voting based on that, but...

Bruce Hayden said...

I should suggest that you try your suggestion with your own blog. It works pretty well until you get onto the posting comment page, and then I find the header of this blog entry overlapping the text. As I crank up the font, it just increases this.

Theo Boehm said...
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darkjethro said...

"Well, darkjethro, you have a point. I was not thinking of owning one, just being driven around in one.

"Let's drive up 495 from the Cape in March and experience the all the new potholes in a rusted Corolla.

Let's take the same drive in a black 720i with heated seats and a Coleman Hawkins CD playing on the stereo."

Ok, I get your meaning. But that is one long list of qualifications on that comparison, no?

As a BMW "cult member" (I have several vintage examples oxidizing themselves as we speak) any 720 that made it to this country would be 20 years old and a steaming pile of ferrous oxide by now. The radio would have ceased working by the time Clinton took office, but the heated seats would have come in handy as the heat and AC system would have been non-functional before the first Bush took office.

I think the model you would be lusting after would be a 750i or 760i.

Theo Boehm said...
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