Sunday, 21 October 2007

Make Lexology readable!

Lexology is a handy website which brings together in one place bulletins, newsletters, articles and the like produced for their clients by many law firms, with a daily email listing recently posted articles in the countries and subject areas you've indicated your interest in when you signed up.

But the font used in both their emails and website is small, and in some light shade of grey, rather than black. That combination isn't very accessible for those of us with poor eyesight, like me.

I've raised this usability issue with Lexology direct a couple of times now. I gather that offering users a choice of fonts is on the cards, but I don't know if it'll be soon enough to save what's left of my eyesight, so I've come up with another solution.

I'm publishing it here in the hope that it'll help preserve other people's eyes too. That can be my good deed for this millennium.

To use it, you need -
(1) the free Firefox browser: http://getfirefox.com/ - but only if you're allowed to install Firefox at work, of course. Otherwise, you're stuck with trying it at home only.
(2) the free Greasemonkey 0.3 or later: http://greasemonkey.mozdev.org/
(3) this userscript I made earlier: http://userscripts.org/scripts/source/13166.user.js 

For those interested, the main page for that script is here.

Added later: nearly 150 people have installed that script in less than 24 hours, according to that page. There must be more demand for something like this than I thought. I never knew there were so many Firefox-using Lexology readers.

Instructions

1. Download and install Firefox from http://getfirefox.com/

2. Open Firefox and go to http://greasemonkey.mozdev.org/ in Firefox.

3. Click the "Install Greasemonkey" link.

4. If you see "To protect your computer, Firefox prevented this site (greasemonkey.mozdev.org) from installing software on your computer", click "Edit Options", "Allow", "OK", "Close".

5. Click the "Install Greasemonkey" link again, then "Install now".

6. Then close Firefox, open it again, and click the link to this script:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/source/13166.user.js

7. Click Install, waiting a few seconds first if necessary.

Next time you visit Lexology via Firefox, it'll be much easier to read. I've made the font black, for instance. There are ways to make Outlook hyperlinks open automatically in Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, if you don't want to copy and paste from the Lexology email.

How to uninstall the script? In Firefox, under Tools, there will be a new menu item "Greasemonkey". If you want to get rid of this script and revert to the old view of Lexology, go to Tools/Greasemonkey/Manage User Scripts, select "Make Lexology Readable", and click Uninstall, and OK. You could alternatively Disable the script instead of uninstalling it, if you prefer.

I thought about creating a version of the script for Internet Explorer 7, for those of us who aren't allowed to install Firefox on their work computers. But there's probably no point as most firms aren't using IE 7. Even if they are, if they won't let you install Firefox they probably won't let you install a browser add-on for IE 7 either, so again there seems to be no point. However, if you'd like a version for IE 7 please let me know by adding a comment, and if enough people want it I may well try to produce something.

Thanks: Mark Pilgrim.