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Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #1 
I just got out a meeting, and a lady remarked to me that several common graph and table formats are difficult for her to read because of her bifocals.

Specifically, she said she has difficulty:

(1) Moving up and back down with her eyes (comparisons).

(2) Viewing across tables that do not contain gridlines.

I have not seen bifocals addressed in any of the books, and wondered if anyone had any best practices or considerations pertaining specifically to bifocals.

Disclaimer: I've only read 'Information Dashboard Design' & most of 'Show Me the Numbers' so I apologize if it's covered and I haven't seen it yet.

I also did a forum search for 'bifocals' and came up empty.

When I can hunt her down, I am going to show the lady in question a table report I've created with 12 font and 24 row height, and see if she has the same difficulties with that particular format.  I'll post results.


Posts: 853
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Josh,

I've worn bifocals for years and have never had a problem scanning up and down rows in a table. If the height of the lower portion of the bifocal lens is too slight, however, I can imagine that your friend would have to move her head up and down more often than someone who doesn't wear bifocals to keep the row that she's reading lined up with the lower portion of the lens. If this is the problem, it might be solved by getting lenses that have a greater distance from top to bottom, thereby giving the lower, close focus section greater height.

Everyone has trouble scanning across a wide row if there is insufficient delineation between rows in the form of white space, light grid lines, or alternating background fills (also known as zebra striping). It's unlikely that bifocals would contribute to this problem.

Stephen Few

Posts: 247
Reply with quote  #3 
But Stephen ... don't you know that when it comes to eyeglasses, it's "form over function" (just like in graphics!)  It's not how well you can see, but how good you look!  Therefore, everyone is going for the 'skinny' glasses these days ...

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