I had to ditch ClearType on my machine. A couple of months back I posted that I was trying out ClearType for a while, to see if I would like the supposed improved readability. Right from the start I had misgivings about this experience but I stuck with it for a few months. I did get used to it and I actually enjoyed some of the font faces – especially Consolas for Code editing. ClearType also makes many font interfaces, especially in Web faces look more pleasing, although it completely changes what they look like – take a look at Verdana 10pt Bold with and without ClearType – they look like completely different fornts.
However, over this time period I noticed that my eyes were getting very tired every day and that my proximity my screens was getting shorter and shorter. I run dual screen with my laptop and a large desktop LCD here, but I had to really scrunch up the laptop screen to be able to read small face apps like Outlook or other desktop apps.
My eyes hurt, my contacts were not happy and my eyes in general were giving me a hard time.
So today I switched back. And man what a difference. No more squinting and ‘cramped’ eye muscles and I’ve been able to back up the laptop screen a bit again.
Yeah, ClearType might be nice for casual reading or running applications and making the content look smooth, but man does it suck for working with text over long periods of time. I got used to the readability, but the strain is something that happens on a physical level.
This brings up an interesting point too though – when you develop your applications one way or another with ClearType on or Off you’re actually looking at the applications potentially differently than your users are… For some that try to tweak the look and feel of their apps exactly including the font layouts this might be quite the bummer to have the UI slaughtered by font smoothing (or vice versa).
I also noticed while going through this experience that a lot of applications (especially Visual FoxPro apps) seem to have problems with ClearType fonts in some way. Form redraws often seem to cause semi-bolding of text in what looks like text being rendered slightly out of phase.
Anyway, I’m back to no ClearType and I no longer feel like I need to get my eye sight adjusted…
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