More middle-aged bitching

For a company that prides itself—rightly, for the most part—in making its product accessible, Apple is really screwing with its middle-aged and older users whose vision is deteriorating. I’ve complained before about the Mac’s incredible shrinking UI (due to increased pixel density) and the low-contrast day numbers in the new iCal. Today I found a new assault on my 51-year-old eyes.

Well, it’s not really new. It’s the same gray-text-on-white problem1 I have with iCal. I followed a link from Stephen Hackett (or maybe it was Justin Blanton—I can’t remember where I saw it first) that took me to Apple’s Mac App Store Preview site. Now, normally when I follow one of these links, I click to launch the MAS application right away, but today I decided to just stay in the browser and read the description of the app there.

Here’s an excerpt of what I saw:

Mac App Preview description

That’s 50% gray text (I checked it with the Color Picker in Acorn) on a white background for body copy. Jesus.

I have this vague memory of someone saying that design isn’t just what something looks like, it’s how it works. If only that person had some influence at Apple.


  1. I’m sure Apple calls it a style


3 Responses to “More middle-aged bitching”

  1. Horace says:

    What about people that have bad eyesight not related to age?

  2. Dr. Drang says:

    They’re being screwed with, too, but the difference (and I may be fooling myself here) is that my vision is—with correction—fine. I don’t need the exceptional changes that come to the UI when you activate the Seeing parts of the Universal Access System Preference. I’ve tried increasing the contrast that way, and it was just distracting.

    No, I’m just a normal, middle-aged user whose vision isn’t what it used to be. Apple could be stylish and accommodate us, too.

  3. Gina Ames says:

    I’ve got 29-year old eyes, with some minor correction. I tend to wear either contacts or glasses when I’m writing or programming.

    I agree with you that the specific color and contrast choice that Apple made here is a poor one, and I hope it isn’t a sign of more poor choices to come.

    I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until I see this propagate elsewhere. It may, after all, be one designer’s poor choice, rather than a stated direction of the company.