November 3, 2002

Stupid Jaguar Tips

Jaguar was the codename for Apple's most recent major OS X upgrade, OS X.2. With it came a new feature intended for visually impaired users but also useful for developers who occassionally need to get a closer look at things on-screen.

The Universal Access preferences allow a Jaguar user to enable keyboard shortcuts that engage display zooming. I'm talking serious to insane amounts of zoom. And Jaguar uses the Quartz rendering and compositing engine to make your on-screen graphics and type smooth all the way down to sub-atomic renderings. Ok, ignore, if you must, the plain usefulness of the feature, this is fun.

Here's how to enable Universal access' Zoom feature:

1.) Open your System Preferences and select the Show All view.
2.) Select Universal Access (from the System category).
3.) Click on the Turn On Zoom rectangular button.

Now you can use OPTION-COMMAND-PLUS and OPTION-COMMAND-MINUS to zoom in and out of your display. Once zoom is engaged, you may use your mouse to navigate the zoomed view.

Zoom options give you the ability to set initial max and min zoom levels, and whether or not to smooth type and graphics as a default. You can always use OPTION-COMMAND-\ in either case to toggle smoothing.

Posted by Lewis Francis at November 3, 2002 1:05 AM

Another nice feature in Jaguar's Universal Access is the ability to view your screen content in grayscale, an ability formerly available to all Mac users but dropped in OS X.

Why would you want to view your designs in grayscale? Besides going for that retro Ansel Adams look, the location of this feature should be a clue -- as much as 10% of males exhibit some form of color blindness. Viewing your designs in grayscale display may expose usability problems for this important audience early enough to resolve before release.

Posted by: Lewis Francis at November 9, 2002 3:53 PM

I shouldn't have left out Universal Access' White on Black feature. If you have enabled Universal Shortcuts, then CONTROL-OPTION-COMMAND-8 will toggle this inversion mode, changing your screen to look as it were a black and white film negative.

The effect is quite pronounced in Aqua's drop shadows and photographs, and looks so good you might be tempted to work in it for a while. ;)

Posted by: Lewis Francis at April 2, 2003 9:49 PM
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