Font Management In 16.04 For Users With Poor Eyesite?

I’m strongly considering moving my Mom (and Dad, if I can move him from Windows) from Linux Mint, where she has been on for the last three years. I’m not convinced in the direction the Mint project is moving in or, frankly, towards the future. After listening to Wimpy’s current interviews on and I’m convinced in the LTS and that Martin will be involved with the Ubuntu Mate project for another couple years. This is something that’s very personal as I’m recommending the distribution, setting it up, I want remove any of the frustrating experiences, and, well, she’s my Mom.

My problem is this: She has poor eyesight.

Currently, as I tool around with the appearance of Mate I’m struck by the absence of a clean flat minimal theme as a choice. The stock default has many variations, as well as a high contrast, but they are all variations on the default theme. I can go get them but I’ve had limited success, as something never quite works right. Looking at the font section specifically It appears that I have to move each font individually. Inside of a distro like Manjaro, using KDE, under fonts there is an “adjust all fonts” button that seems to adjust everything proportionally. I’m unsure of the relationship between the fonts, sizes and why the defaults are chosen. Finally the icon size toggles between small and large. It might be better to offer a small, medium, large, and extra large option that scales everything up or down according the users wishes. Something like that might sit at the beginning of the Welcome screen.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions? I’ve never really stopped to consider Accessibility since I was a young punk. As I age, and as I watch my parents go through it, it’s teaching me a valuable set of lessons.

(Using the screen magnifier is an option for her but it makes her feel “old”, in her words. Both my parents are late 50’s.)

Hi @anon4084413,

Here are my optimum settings for readability, with "Bluebird" theme, and these font tweaks; nicely flat and bold, and very readable. Let me know if you want to do something like this - and have any questions :smiley::

Oh, it just says "OfficeMate," on the Menu tab because this is one of my hand-tailored builds; but it is still enough like regular U-MATE to be relevant.

Moreover, Icon resizing is possible; but an easy fix, for panel icons, would to re-size the panel; everything becomes bigger then. :smiley:

This is also assuming that they want a "Windows List," too, found in the panel right-click - "Add to Panel."

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Very nice. Thanks for the pics.

No worries; but that sounded a tad like a noble response to a not so useful suggestion :sweat: - there is an answer out there, though!

I don't know if the sight enhancements in your MATE menu would be more helpful... I wish you all the best on this quest! :laughing:

Thanks again. Hopefully we’ll see an Accessibility option in future versions of the Welcome screen. It does little good to be buried in settings somewhere. The options should appear when the Welcome screen first starts.

Maybe a button in BOLD called “Accessibility” that when clicked also speaks Accessibility? Or the splash of WELCOME and underneath Accessibility options?

I think part of the problem, and I’m not articulating my responses correctly, is the fact that she wants it as “normal” as possible. She doesn’t want to think of the inevitable deterioration of her eyesight and the more aggressive Accessibility options add or call to the “stigma” of the problem itself. I’m just trying to help my Mom and by extension anyone else who can benefit…

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As we discussed via email this is something that I will be looking into and in MATE 1.14 there is now a feature the set the icon sizes of Panel Menu Icons and Icons in the panel. The range is 16px to 48px and configuring this will be exposed via MATE Tweak. I’ll also investigate the inclusion of fonts suitable for visually impaired :slight_smile:

Excellent. May I have permission to post this in my thread so a public
record of this exists?

Sure, no problem :slight_smile:

Thanks again Martin. I’ve dropped a small donation in the coffer as an appreciation for you and for taking some of your valuable time to look at this issue.

If anyone has any other idea’s or contributions to Accessibility, please, feel free to add to this thread.


Ran into an accessibility niggle this morning after doing an 16.04 install a couple days ago. I've pumped the bottom bar to 50, for my Mom, and the icon's that reside permanently scale to that size. The temporary icons, do not, creating a incredibly small, frustrating and potentially confusing experience.

Multiple tabs stack on top of each other instead of taking the full width of the enlarged bar.

This is part of my frustration with accessibility. It seems like I have control over some pieces, and can manually correct as I need, but a whole concept it's like a jigsaw., pieces miss fit, don't work, or play nice together.

As I’ve discussed before, this is improved in MATE 1.14.

Yep. I’m trying to leave a picture/paper trail so anyone who needs help with these particular issues has something to refer back to via search. And any development has a clear picture of what’s happening instead of vague descriptions.

As before: I appreciate the time spent on these issues.

I've added ttf-tiresias to the ubuntu-mate-core meta-package for Ubuntu MATE 16.10.

This is a family of realist sans-serif typefaces that were designed for
best legibility by people with impaired vision at the Scientific Research
Unit of Royal National Institute of the Blind in London.

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Thanks Martin. She’s currently roadtesting this and the Mate 1.14.

(Also: I’m testing the Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon Beta under Fonts, there is a Text Scaling Factor button that makes it easy to move everything up/down at will.)

For anyone interested in listening in: Martin has a podcast. In episode S09E14, at roughly the 37:00 minute mark, Martin mentions an Accessibility podcast:

Going Linux:
Show #299

Both are worth a listen.

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