I’m turning 50 this month. You know what that means?
It means that when I’m sitting on the floor with my son playing with lego, I’m wearing glasses.
I hate my glasses.
I mean, I look great (I probably didn’t need to say that) but I freaking hate having something on my face.
The problem is that I need them to read my phone too. And I’m always on my phone, so I have to keep my glasses handy (and when I don’t, I have even more trouble seeing at the end of the day).
What does this have to do with mobile apps?
I remember when Apple first had a system font preference that worked across apps. Before then, using a Blackberry or Windows Mobile, I remember having to change the font setting for each app individually (if the app supported one). It was awkward at best. Font sizes between apps were inconsistent driving the OCD (figurative, not diagnostically literal) part of me insane.
I remember the relief that I could go to one setting on the iPhone and never have to think about it again.
Here’s the thing.
I now have the system font set to the highest size. It works great, mostly. However…
Responsive apps either can’t, can’t easily, or have developers that don’t care to implement the system font setting in their apps. I could call out banks, hospitals, and even CoinMarketCap (where I track my crypto portfolio daily) and Telegram (where I learn more about Crypto) that don’t support the system font.
It drives me insane when people don’t accept that their crappy responsive apps are crappy. I understand why they have to be sometimes done (some apps just aren’t that important)… but that’s not the case with the ones I’m mostly using.
A Better Discussion
I’m not always the smartest guy on these things… so I could be wrong as to the why’s, but I’m not wrong as to the trend, or the reason why companies aren’t writing native apps (they’re much more expensive to create and require skills specific to the task, rather than general purpose web skills, among other reasons).
If you want to hear a great discussion on the system font feature and implementation, listen to this podcast. The link should take you to a specific moment in time (about 1 hour 10 minutes into the podcast). It’s John Gruber’s podcast The Talk Show with Jim Dalrymple. I highly recommend listening, both for content as well as production value. If I ever do a podcast, this one is the format I’d like to copy. John starts each episode mid-thought. Amazing.
More to Come
I have a lot to write about native vs. non-native apps (much of it in internal CA emails or my blog draft folder), which is why I’ve titled this one part 1. It’s an essential topic for B2B people to understand because a native app point of view is a controversial idea in the circles I run in.