Larger, darker fonts, more contrast please!

For FamilySearch Beta, please make your fonts bigger and darker. The greys are almost impossible to see for people with diminishing eyesight. The Library Catalog is extremely hard to read. Your original Library Catalog was very easy to read.
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  • Yes, the "accessibility" of the FamilySearch web sites has improved since this thread was started. However, most genealogists I know still regard the small fonts and the colors as significant impediments. Ultimately, accessibility is in the eyes of the beholder, not in compliance with a standard. My guess is that the complainers you know about are simply the tiny minority of customers who were clever enough, or persistent enough, to find the Feedback and Discussion Forum links.

    A quick experiment with my laptop computer reveals that the visual "contrast" we experience is highly dependent on the angle at which we view the screen. I found that tilting the screen away from me greatly improves the contrast. The change of contrast with the angle of viewing is much greater for blue than it is for black, and I surmise that this effect is at the root of some of the reported difficulties.

    Has anyone done a serious study of whether it is the color or the font size that is the main driver for the perception that parts of the site are difficult to read? Remember that our eyes have two types of light detectors, rods and cones. Color vision and black-and-white vision are different senses. Black fonts on a white background are always going to be easier to read because of the way our eyes and brain are constructed. Switching between colors is going to slow down our mental processes. At the same time, I expect that switching between font sizes also leads to delays, on top of the obvious fact that the smallest font sizes are inherently more difficult to read. The design of the site has forced us to process multiple colors and font sizes simply to grasp the meaning of a single search result. Multiple font faces, sizes, and colors can be used to convey additional meaning, but I am convinced this web site has taken the concept well beyond what the mind can easily absorb, to the point where the styles, sizes, and colors are simply distracting. Less would be more!

    The FamilySearch web site is intended for a very large and thoughtful customer population. Many of these customers gather at Family History Centers, meetings of genealogical societies, or annual seminars. These are perfect venues for gathering feedback and testing possible accessibility improvements. Much could be learned, too, by comparing the "customer experience" across several different genealogy web sites. The question of accessibility is not yet closed.
    • I was the original writer of the comment "Larger, darke font .....", and have received the comments that have been made since then. There is so much to be said in appreciation for what FamilySearch has tried to do to give us the vast amount of material we are now privey to because of their knowledge, expertise, time and efforts, just using the magnifier may make a difference for some. Having seen their dedication first hand, I would like to thank them again for all that they do to keep this site up and running and available for the benefit of us all. Btrfly.
    • As a side note, the teams are working on a new design for the site overall that should make things even more clear and easy to read. It will probably be made visible within a few months.
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  • Let me add my support to the many people on this thread who have begged for better visibility of the fonts on FamilySearch. I proposed the same thing on a separate thread a couple of years ago, but have not persisted to hound the developers, assuming that the problem would be corrected in due time. But the apparent finality of Robert Kehrer's remarks that the problem had been solved, and that the concerns of users had been satified because the complaints had diminished, does not ring true and needs further comment.

    Looking at Robert Kehrer's picture on this site confirmed my suspicion that he is a youthful person in the prime of life, and not the usual senior citizen with somewhat less visual acuity who frequents the local FHC. I can say this because I am 82 and have had 4 operations on my eyes this year. But I still use FamilySearch frequently.

    So Robert, please understand that your proposal that users use the browser options to "get additional visibility, if your eyes require it," is not a satisfactory answer in either tone or recommendation. Please consider recommending to your management that this problem should receive further action to get resolved to satisfy a concerned community.
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  • Let me add my support to the many people on this thread who have begged for better visibility of the fonts on FamilySearch. I proposed the same thing on a separate thread a couple of years ago, but have not persisted to hound the developers, assuming that the problem would be corrected in due time. But the apparent finality of Robert Kehrer's remarks that the problem had been solved, and that the concerns of users had been satified because the complaints had diminished, does not ring true and needs further comment.

    Looking at Robert Kehrer's picture on this site confirmed my suspicion that he is a youthful person in the prime of life, and not the usual senior citizen with somewhat less visual acuity who frequents the local FHC. I can say this because I am 82 and have had 4 operations on my eyes this year. But I still use FamilySearch frequently.

    So Robert, please understand that your suggestion that users use the browser options to "get additional visibility, if your eyes require it," is not a satisfactory answer in either tone or recommendation. Please consider recommending to your management that this problem should receive further action to get resolved to satisfy a concerned community.
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    • This increase contrast tools do not do much between pale blue/grey and white - which are the problem colors
    • Well-put Marie. I mostly research at home, but occasionally use the computer at my local public library, when I am working with the microfilms rented from Salt Lake. Only IE is installed and no adjustments are permitted. The monitors are smaller than my home set-up. I feel for those for whom that is the only option.
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  • I’m old and tired and eyesore
    I TOTALLY AGREE. I am only 72 but my eyesight is failing. I use two wide monitors because I usually have up to 10 and sometimes more windows open. I also use the big 3 browsers. On things i can control such as Ancestral quest I have jacked things up to Arial Bold 12pt. That may be a little much but I have no problem seeing things with it. In World Wide Support it is impossible to change Amdocs and I cannot serve long without a headache. I spend 60 or more hours per week in front of this computer either serving the mission or doing my own research. It tires me out.
    PLEASE HEAR OUR PLEA This is not the only thread on this topic either.
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  • I’m disappointed
    I wonder - would this post still be a "hot" topic, had we not heard that the forum is closing? Is everyone trying to enter his/her last 2 cents' worth before we are banished?

    It's a problem - it's not as bad as it was, but the visibility could be better.

    I'm 64, with macular degeneration. I spend 40+ hours researching every week. Like many others, I'm trying to find what I can while I still have the mind and the money to subscribe to paying sites and high-speed internet. Many of the sites dedicated to genealogical research are obviously formatted/run/marketed by those barely out of their teens, obvious when we see advertisements about "3xg grandfathers serving in WWI" or "grand aunt don't you dare" with a 1950s photo.

    Yes, I have the computer-savvy and at-home access to modify viewability. Many of those searching are restricted by what is available at the local public library or LDS center - where one cannot - is not permitted/allowed/able to make browser changes.
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  • Robert, we users all seem to agree that the font colors are still a problem, so I will not beat that horse any more.

    What really bothers me even more is trying to get back to the same place in a search results list after selecting one of the entries. I spend a lot of time trying to find my place again, because the page with the search results seems to scroll to a random location. It should return to the same position it was in before the entry was selected. Would you see if this can be corrected also?
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  • 1
    This website needs help with bolder print. The comment and
    feedback boxes have the right density. Can you fix it??
    I am not the only one seeing this problem. In order for this
    website to be user friendly, the printing needs to be fixed asap!
    I prefer ancestry.com with the friendlier print to read. With geno
    research, one needs dark/bold lettering.....hint..hint!
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