Visually Challenged? Tweak Your Linux - Tips From Wizard

wizardfromoz

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I initially wrote a Thread on this subject at another website over five and a half years ago.

The subject matter is easily as important, if not more so, to me, as advancing age sees my eyesight deteriorate inexorably.

Being a Moderator here, I am going to pin this Thread, likely in General to begin with, but if it moves to, for example, Getting Started, or elsewhere, The Viewers will be informed of the change.

A pattern for the thread will emerge over time, but to save time, I will launch straight away into my first Tip.

Cheers

Chris Turner
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wizardfromoz

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BROWSER EXPERIENCE – ENHANCE YOUR VIEWING ABILITY

This I describe as The Control Plus Combo.

Let's do an exercise. If you are reading this, you are in a Browser, maybe Firefox, it does not matter.

You may not wish to lose the (perhaps several) Tabs you are working on, so I suggest you do one of the following:
  • Pin your open Tabs (right-click and choose Pin Tab), then close any open Tabs
  • Save them temporarily as Bookmarks, then close them OR
  • Right-click your Firefox (or other browser) icon in your Panel or Dock, and choose the equivalent of Launch to open another instance of your Browser.
  • If all else fails, you can come back later and likely choose History - Show all History, to get back what you closed


For this exercise, I want you to open just three tabs. The addresses are safe, but if you have NoScript enabled you may need to Temporarily Allow them:


The first I think you'll know? The second - I found researching to try to help a lady named LinuxChic who was in search of Pink Themes for Zorin, five years ago.

The third? Bought (had built) my house with Dixon's.

All of them have font sizes, not necessarily for the whole page, which some might find challenging, visually.

Pick linux.org's front page first, and do the following:

While holding down the control key (left or right does not matter), tap the key that has the Plus (+) sign on it. Count in your head the number of times you tap it. No need to hold Shift as you usually do, Control does the job. The first time increases the size of what you are viewing, each subsequent tap of Plus does likewise. Stop when you find a size you like.

Now reverse the process, using Ctrl-Minus(-), tapped the same number of times, and the page will revert to the way it was prior. For users whose desktop or laptop includes a numeric, you can use the Plus and Minus keys on the numeric keypad to the same effect.

Ctrl-0 , that is, Control Zero is a quicker way of reverting to the website’s original size.

If using a numeric keypad, note that the Control Plus and Control Minus feature will work irrespective of whether you have Num Lock turned on, but for Control Zero to operate, you need Num Lock on.

In my next segment, we will perhaps take a bit more of a look at this feature, and we will also take a look at many people’s first visual experience with an installed Linux, and that is

The Login Screen.


Cheers


Chris Turner
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rado84

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Or you could just use Ctrl+ScrollUp/ScrollDown with your mouse - works like Ctrl++/- and it doesn't matter whether NumLock is ON or OFF.
 

wizardfromoz

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Nice one, Rado, thanks :)

...we will perhaps take a bit more of a look at this feature,
Rado has mentioned one of two more ways I was going to list. With the ScrollUp/Down it utilises the wheel on mice which have one, or perhaps the middle button if there is one. Not always as precise, but works.

The other is that astute readers whose Browser is enabled with a Menu Bar can see that under View, there may be Zoom, with the same shortcut keys listed (as shown below), in FF it includes an option you can check/tick to increase and reduce text only, ignoring pictures.


SCREENSHOT 1 - VIEW-ZOOM FEATURE IN FIREFOX

If you know of other ways to effect the same result, please share them with us. :)

Wizard
 

rado84

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Ctrl++ and Ctrl+ScrollUp both result in the same steps in zooming in and respectively zooming out for the opposite variant, so they're equally precise.
If you wanna change these steps, for Firefox, Waterfox and other fox-based browsers, you can do that by going to about:config and changing the values of the function toolkit.zoomManager.zoomValues .
 

wizardfromoz

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...so they're equally precise.
...except when you have a "wonky" wheel, such as I have (have to save for a new mouse), hence the keyboard shortcuts are always reliable and precise. :)

Wizard
 

rado84

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Except when your key gets stuck pressed and it goes into an endless loop of zooming in our ot. :D
Why does the mouse have to be expensive? I'm using my favorite model of A4Tech - OP620D which costs $4-5 here, the warranty is 2 or 3 years and it lasts a lot longer than that.
 

KGIII

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BROWSERS - THEMES AND EXTENSIONS/ADDONS

Seeing as this thread has devolved, I'd like to point out that you can use something like Stylus and 'theme' sites. This isn't going to make the text larger, but it may make it easier to see. Making the text larger is still an option and can be combined with this just fine.

I am partially colorblind. Bright pages hurt my eyes if I'm in a poorly lit room. Dark themes also provide more contrast. So, I install Stylus, the browser extension, and search for themes that suit my needs. In some cases, I have to write my own - but that's fairly straightforward.

For example, AskUbuntu looks like this (for me):



This is what it looks like for everyone else:



The colors contrast, it's easier for me to read, and it doesn't hurt my eyes.

Because the forum has a dark theme, I don't bother changing it on linux.org. However, Stylus will let you search for themes based on the URL you have open and a quick check says there are some 9 pages of themes you can pick from. Not all of them may work, if the site has been updated since the creation of the style/theme. So, you may need to tinker with them, especially if they're more than a year or two old. Still, there are many available.

It's available for any Chrome based browser here:


It's available for Firefox here:


There's a central repository, but more can be found by way of your favorite search engine, here:


If you'd like to skip the repository, you can simply open the extension from your browser menu (when you're on a page you want to change) and click on 'Find Style'. It looks like this:



If you leave the 'inline' option ticked, you don't even have to go to the repository to find styles. When you do that, it looks like this:



So, there are something like 90 choices that *should* be for this site. If you look, you can see when they were last updated. As sites get changed now and then, the more recent styles are more likely to work without any additional changes on your part.

Here's a code snippet:

Code:
:root {
        --background: #212121;
        --background-transparent: rgba(33, 33, 33, 0.5);
        --object-background: #333333;
        --object-hover: #424242;
        --object-hover-hover: #616161;

        --link: #FAFAFA;
        --link-visited: #9E9E9E;

        --text: #FAFAFA;
        --faded-text: #BDBDBD;

        --search-box-shadow: 0 0 0 1px rgb(0, 0, 0), 0 2px 4px 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5);
        --search-box-shadow-hover: 0 0 0 1px rgb(0, 0, 0), 0 2px 4px 0 rgb(0, 0, 0);
        --shadow-border: #000000;

        --border: #424242;

        --accent: #bef3bd;

        --light-to-dark: none;
        --dark-to-light: invert(1);
    }
/*[[atheme]]*/
/*[[ltheme]]*/
/*[[dtheme]]*/


* {
    transition: background-color 0.2s ease, box-shadow 0.2s ease, border-color 0.2s ease;
}
As you can see, it's more or less just making your own CSS on a per-site basis. It's not overly complicated. If it is too much for you, you can look at other examples, check W3C, or even use freecodecamp to learn some basic CSS and start styling sites on your own.
 
Last edited:

wizardfromoz

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Excellent input, @KGIII and thanks, we are back on track. ;);)

Could you "enlighten" the readers and just let us know a little more about whether Stylus has use across more than one Browser, what Browser you are using it on, and so on?

Any link/s would be great.

On this website's theming, at the bottom of my screen, I have a small "Default Style" - can be better seen if you use Ctrl-Plus.

Clicking that gives you an option between Default Style (lighter) and Dark Default.

Cheers

Wizard
 

KGIII

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Excellent input, @KGIII and thanks, we are back on track
I went ahead and changed it up. Originally, I wrote a new reply. I decided I'd append my original reply with that data.

Feel free to delete this (and your own comment, if needed) to keep the thread neat and organized. I do not mind if you delete this. ;-)
 

FBClark

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KGill, for my wife, low contrast with darker text on a not white background works best for her. For example, any text color from black to dark blue on a light blue or gray background works best. High contrast tires her eye.
We'll be taking a good long look at Stylus and seeing what all it can do.
 

KGIII

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We'll be taking a good long look at Stylus and seeing what all it can do.
There are also 'global styles' that can be found here:


Those impact all sites, but they're not always good for all sites. It's an attempt to be a one-size-fits-all thing, but the web doesn't work that way. Some of them do okay and you can always invest the time in making it work for the most common sites that you'd/she'd be using.

And, just because it impacts all sites doesn't mean you can't use it. In the three dot menu (when checking the add-on's settings) there's an option to disable the style on the specific URL or the specific domain. So, you can have control with a degree of fidelity. You can have it enabled on example.com/index.html but not enabled on example.com/forum/index.php and stuff like that. It will require some time investment but the learning curve is small.

If you care to, please share the results.

If you need to, feel free to ping me (in another thread, so we don't muck this one all up) and I'll take a look. My CSS is pretty rusty, so I can mostly help with technical issues you might encounter - though I don't expect you'll bump into any major snags. I've been using it for years, and used 'Stylish' before that.
 

rado84

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Stylus and Stylish slow down pages. So far the best addon I've found for dark sites is "Dark Reader". It has 4 dark modes, one of which is "Dynamic". IDK how exactly this dynamic mode works but it's the best of these 4. Here are some screenshots of it. And the user can choose to disable the addon for the specific website, especially if the website has its own dark theme.




 

FBClark

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There are also 'global styles' that can be found here:


Those impact all sites, but they're not always good for all sites. It's an attempt to be a one-size-fits-all thing, but the web doesn't work that way. Some of them do okay and you can always invest the time in making it work for the most common sites that you'd/she'd be using.

And, just because it impacts all sites doesn't mean you can't use it. In the three dot menu (when checking the add-on's settings) there's an option to disable the style on the specific URL or the specific domain. So, you can have control with a degree of fidelity. You can have it enabled on example.com/index.html but not enabled on example.com/forum/index.php and stuff like that. It will require some time investment but the learning curve is small.

If you care to, please share the results.

If you need to, feel free to ping me (in another thread, so we don't muck this one all up) and I'll take a look. My CSS is pretty rusty, so I can mostly help with technical issues you might encounter - though I don't expect you'll bump into any major snags. I've been using it for years, and used 'Stylish' before that.
We'll play around a bit ... with this material of course!
I'm going to guess that part of any problems come about because of the differences between dynamic and static web design. Static is phasing out because of all the different devices used, but there's still a crap load of it out there.
If we jump high enough, we'll get over it. Mmm, on second thought, old folks shouldn't jump should we?
Might take us a few days to get into this. There's so much garbage on TV and the webs about this election it's sickening and we might just take a nice long break from technology.

Isn't electricity great? Without it we'd be watching TV by candlelight.
George Gobel
 

wizardfromoz

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Just got in to "the office" and only have an hour so I'll be brief, but more tomorrow.

Good to see Clarkie is here - his eyesight is not getting any better than mine is, and his good lady wife is blind in one eye, and has distorted vision in the other, which may account for why she thinks he is good looking?

It was his joining which galvanised me to finally start this Thread. The Clarks are familiar with now defunct visually-friendly Linux distros such as Vinux and Sonar, both of which I have used, but I'd like to see what we can do for those challenged visually to any degree, and the Clarks use LMDE 4 'Debbie', which is the Debian-based version of Mint, so I'll start there.

Wizard
 

wizardfromoz

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Below are two screenshots. The backgrounds are different, but they are both for LMDE 4's login screen.



SCREENSHOTS 2 AND 3 - DEFAULT AND ENLARGED LOGINS

These are effected using a feature known as HiDPI which is available to quite a few Distros in the Debian/Ubuntu/Mint category, but also elsewhere.

It does not help the mouse cursor size, but we will take a look at that as well.

There are also enhancements we can look at by modifying

/etc/default/grub aka our Grub configuration file.

Cheers

Wizard
 


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