Monday, 5 November 2012

Does size Matter?

It might sound a bit of a cliché but does size really matter?

I think it might.

As I have reached my 50th year,  I have found that my eyes have deteriorated as a result of poor screen pixelation on computers and poor refresh rates causing eye fatigue, headaches and sight difficulties.  Such is the life for many people who spend much of their life in front of a computer screen.

I notice that the font size is critical to me; if it is too small then I have to change to my reading glasses. Too small is defined as the size of font size currently used on many pre-packaged ready meals.  This means I either have poorly cooked food or have to put on my reading spectacles.

On a computer or mobile device the font size is extremely important.  For many smartphones there are apps that can be downloaded to change the font size but few are absolutely ideal and most will change the font of some items whilst leaving others at their originally small size.   

The smartphone and tablet computer tend to mitigate this problem by the use of icons, so the user does not need to read the name of a programme, they just click on the icon.  Pictures are often easier to recognize and have greater utility than just words but when in an app such as notepad the user must fiddle with the settings to change the font.  Most games do not allow for font change making them a little difficult to play on a smart phone.  Similarly texts are often unable to be read easily unless a text font modifying app is installed.

Size is also important in relation to the size of the screen; bigger screen better font is usually the case.

The iPad and iPad mini

The Samsung Galaxy S3  and S3 mini

The iPhone 4 and iPhone 5

The most important size though is the size of the device itself. The mini iPad for example has been criticised as it is more difficult to pocket than its 7 inch counterpart the Google Nexus 7.  The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 are substantially bigger than their previous incarnations, this has caused Samsung to rethink the S3 and bring out the S3 mini, similar phone but smaller.  

Depending on what you want to do with your phone the size of the device matters. 

If you just want to receive calls and make them, then the device needs to be big enough for the numbers to be visible that are being dialled.  If texting is a priority then the screen needs to be bigger but small enough for thumbs to glide effortlessly around a keypad. If the phone is smarter and the user wants to play games on it, then it needs to be bigger still; and if the person wants to use the phone as a photographic studio to edit and take photos it should be even bigger.

Mobile devices can be too big and cumbersome. Many tablets are very portable but not suitable for one handed use for long periods as they are a little too heavy for most people. Similarly, large screen mobile phones are great but can be a privacy issue as if the screen is too big, allowing others to see the content as well as the user.

It is interesting to note that most easy to use phones have large screens and large fonts but the phones themselves are largely quite small. So this is acknowledged as an issue of importance but one that many smartphone manufacturers have not heeded.

So the $64 million question is what is the best size? 
Is their and ideal size?

What size is best?