Vision Of Eyechart With GlassesA few years ago, the resolution on our monitors wasn’t good enough to make big text look great, unflickery, and unpixellated on screen. And so, many news and magazines merely transposed their way of thinking from their offline worlds into the online environment: they built websites that published their words in small font, expecting readers to interact with their copy the way they had always done with their newspapers and magazines. If the text was too small, they could move closer to their screens. The smart ones could increase the font size in their browsers, even if that would mess up the formatting of the rest of the site. It was as if news organizations were still stuck in the age of the typewriter.

That way of thinking is out of date. We are now living in an age of Retina displays and high-resolution desktop monitors. These days, the flicker of our monitors is barely detectable, there’s less reflection and glare, and it’s a strain to see any pixellation in the text even when we’re so close to the screen we could kiss it. Despite these developments, however, there is a surprising number of newspaper, magazine, and blog hold-outs, who just don’t want to let go of the small-font days.

Maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting old and need spectacles, but I have grown impatient with the websites that refuse to adapt to this new age of big-fonted beauty. So I’m going to call a few out. Below, I present to you some of the sites that need to lift their game a few point sizes. And then, I show you the ones who are doing it right.

The worst offenders

Baltimore Sun: Visible with magnifying glass

Baltimore Sun: Come on, put your nose against the screen

Popular Science: 11-point is for pull-quotes

Popular Science: 11-point is for pull-quotes

Venture Beat: A picture is worth 4,540 words

Venture Beat: Think we can't make this text any smaller?

NYT Bits Blog: Look closer: the story is in the central column

NYT Bits Blog: Powerful bifocal lens required

The Atlantic: Outdated attempt at mini-classical

The Atlantic: outdated attempt at classical

Poynter: Small and squinty

Poynter: Small and squinty

Wired: Wants you to work hard for its words

Wired: We want you to work hard for our words

Best in Show

Nieman Journalism Lab: Quiet and spacious, with a “zen” mode

Nieman Lab: Quiet and spacious, with a "zen" mode

Forbes: Readable treasures behind the interstitial

Forbes: Readable treasures behind the interstitial

Buzzfeed: Because it should never be difficult to read about cats

Buzzfeed: Because it should never be difficult to read about cats

Medium: Keeping it simple

Medium: Keeping it simple

Svbtle: White space is our friend

Svbtle: White space is our friend

NSFW: A relaxing massage of the eyes

NSFW: Low fuss, no clutter

[Lead image courtesy kenteegardin]