Words by c.z.robertson

Pixels considered harmful

2000-11-25 01:00:00 UTC

Recently I set my screen resolution to 1280x1024. (The full story involves much cack-handed experimentation with xconfigurator and XF86Config.) I'm actually quite happy with this, despite the fact that it means my colours are down from 24 bit to 16 bit. The only thing that becomes difficult is web browsing. I can set all the fonts on my apps to be bigger than before, but if I don't aggresively deal with web fonts that are too small I have difficulty reading some sites.

Before all this happened I would've recommended web designers to set the font size in pixels using css if they needed to set the size at all. Unfortunately, a ten pixel font on a 120dpi display is pretty much unreadable. Now I've realised why ems are so important.

I can no longer see individual pixels, and that should be a good thing. According to Jakob Nielsen, people read from computer screens at 75% of their normal reading speed, but when given very high-res screens their speed goes back to 100%. I can't wait until we're all using screens with resolutions greater than 200dpi. At that point hopefully pixels will cease to be relevant at all.