inaccessible

Of all the many task-management apps available for the Apple platforms, the one that fits my needs best, by far, is Things by Cultured Code. And if I’m using the iOS version it’s a sheer delight. I can organize everything from small daily tasks, to lists of movies I want to watch, to complex multi-stage projects. It’s beautifully designed and has lots of power when I need it.

But often I work on a Mac, and when I do, Things makes me miserable. I blink and strain my eyes until they hurt, I crane my neck towards and away from the screen. After anything more than five minutes I’m frustrated and in pain. The reason: the makers of Things have since day 1 of the Mac version of their app — twelve years ago — refused to allow users to adjust the size of any text in the app. They like text small and so they keep it small. But my aging eyes can no longer adjust, even with my fairly sophisticated lenses. So sometimes when I’m using the Mac I will pull out an iOS device rather than struggle with the text on the Mac version of Things.

It’s not rare for software companies to do less than they might, and probably less than they should, to make their apps accessible to people whose senses don’t function peecisely as a healthy 25-year-old’s do. But it is really rare, these days, to find a company as actively hostile to non-ideal users as Cultured Code. It’s hard to imagine a usability feature more basic than the ability to adjust text size. But they won’t do it. It’s like someone producing a music app that doesn’t allow you to adjust the volume. (“We’ve chosen a volume level that we think will be best for most of our users.”)

I have a lot of money and time invested in the Things apps, but it looks like I’m going to have to turn to an alternative that may be less well-suited to my workflow. But that’s okay; I can adapt my workflow. I just can’t adapt my eyes.

(And dear reader, please do not respond to this post by giving me advice. Whatever you think I ought to do in this matter, I have tried it, and I do mean whatever. And while I have you on the line, please don’t ever give anyone advice, about anything, unless they explicitly ask for it.)