How I use Linearization


I use linearization every day, whenever possible. For me, it is the only
way to read effectively enough to get my work done. Linearization enables
me to change font size and spacing metrics as much as I need. I get word
wrapping on every string of text.

It is difficult for a person with full sight to imagine a good interface
for someone with limited visual acuity. Small smart phones are similar but
not precisely the same. Multiple column format is always a problem. Small
data tables, are tolerable, but difficult.

Here is how I use linearization.

1.               Linearize the page. This means place all block items in a
single column left aligned. A remarkable number of pages can be linearized
with simple CSS.

2.               Reformat the typography. For me, font size and family
modifications are very helpful. Letter spacing, word spacing and line
spacing are also important. I also use the box model to identify special
items like "aside". I use one font family for headings and another
distinctly different font family for running text. I use a bold currier or
comic sans for italics because I can see these fonts and they stand out
from the running text. I am very careful to choose a sans serif font with
wide letters for running text. All my font families have distinctive
ascenders and descenders as well as distinctive presentation of conflict
groups like I, l and 1 for running text. I use font family to distinguish
semantic content because it allows me to keep the font size constant for
all elements. That saves space. If letter, line and word spacing are right,
I can usually reduce the font size.

3.               I use a screen reader to navigate semantically I also use
the screen reader to consume large quantities of relatively simple text. A
screen reader alone, being time-based, cannot support reading dense
expository content. As I listen I read along with my eyes.

4.               I use large print to read difficult content. For example,
when I read the ARIA 1.1 spec, I needed self-paced media. Even at large
print, 112px, word-wrapped large print gives a very effective character
buffer (100 characters). 100 characters is not big, but it enables large
print analysis at the pace I need. First, I listen to a big chunk of text.
Then I backtrack. I enlarge to a very comfortable size, and then I visually
read and reread passages in very small visual chunks until I get it.

If linearization is possible, I can use a page easily.

Linearization has become increasingly difficult in the past decade. Mail
clients do not support it. Version control systems do not support it. So,
at present I can barely read email, and web based version control systems.

Enlargement without word wrapping creates a severe barrier to reading. It
is not support. Now that I have computed the profound usability of zoom
enlargement we know this is a barrier not a support. It is essential to
protect the ability to linearize.


Received on Saturday, 18 February 2017 00:59:03 UTC