Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

New font sizes on the iPhone/iPad

Posted by universalis on 19 July 2012

The latest version of Universalis and Catholic Calendar for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch is now available on the iTunes App Store. It changes the way that large fonts are handled so as to make life easier for the people who need them.

There are two ways to change the font size. The first is to double-tap. Each double tap takes you to the next size up, until what we think is a reasonable maximum size is reached. The next double tap takes you to the smallest available size. So double taps cycle through a predefined list of available font sizes. (Triple-tapping will always take you straight back to the default font size).

The other way to change the font size is to pinch-zoom, just as in Safari: touch your fingers close together and swipe them apart to enlarge, touch them far apart and swipe them together to shrink. The upper size limit for pinch-zooming is quite a bit larger than for double-tapping. This is to give access to the larger sizes for people with partial vision while at the same time not confusing matters for users who are reasonably sighted but don’t want to take their reading glasses out.

We have now made two changes to this.

First, on the iPad only, the maximum font size accessible through pinch-zooming is now twice as large. This was specifically requested by someone with very partial sight indeed. We’ve done it on the iPad only because the iPhone’s screen is too small for such large fonts to be usable.

Second, the same user pointed out that if, when one tapped on the screen to get to the next page, one tapped a bit tremulously, this could be seen as a double tap by the system, in which case the font size would go very small and he would need to pinch-zoom it to a large size all over again. So our second change is this: if the current font size is so big that it could only have been reached by pinch-zooming, double taps do not alter the font size. Instead a transient warning pops up for a second and a half, telling you that if you truly want to make the font size smaller then you should pinch inwards.

This change avoids embarrassing accidents – particularly embarrassing because the user in question is a priest who has the iPad on the altar at Mass as a supplement to the printed liturgical books.

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