Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kindle Tips: An easier way to make web reading more readable on Kindle Fire


This is revised from the earlier blog articles on making tiny fonts more readable when doing the web on Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch.

The Kindle Touch no longer responds the same way to the Android feature or trick.
 With the KTouch, you now simply Double click a page to get the current text to fill the width of the screen but only at a certain font level which is not large enough for my normal needs, though I can read it.
  You CAN, though, then use two fingers to Pinch-Zoom the text-size to a desired size, but tnen you'll need to scroll around a bit.

 At least, with the Kindle Touch, though, if you are reading a web article (as with a lead individual feature on a product page or news story) you can choose Menu and select Article Mode and get a very readable screen as a result.  (You then select Web Mode to get back into regular web reading mode.)

  But, as an example, for the Customer Reviews that follow an Amazon product page description:  Since the Menu-->Article Mode feature pertains only to a lead article and not to the reviews that follow (and never to a full page), there is no 'Article Mode' for secondary text that gives you the nicely-programmed larger-sized text.   Again, you CAN pinch-zoom any text to a desired size (which is considerably better than what we had before).

  I can no longer, though, get a desired text size that would be adjusted to the screen width, with the Kindle Touch, via pinch-zooming to a largish font-size and then clicking.  Now, it's mainly a toggle that we can get  between tiny and medium-small -- or, we can then use the gradual pinch-zooming to a larger size:

    Again -- Double-click to see the full page with tiny text and Double-click again to see a specific column fit to the width of the screen -- but only in a smaller font size, after which you can pinch-zoom to a larger size and scroll around as needed.   It just no longer lets you fit a column to the width at a larger font-size you've chosen, which is inconvenient, but at least we can make adjustments. (Sorry for the redundancy, but I just want to be as clear as possible.)

KINDLE FIRE -- A really smooth way to get a larger text-size of our choice adjusted to width of the screen when doing the web

  I'd written earlier, in detail, on dealing with web pages or with PDFs in which you can see the full pages, which are usually unreadable in that format with screen widths that are considerably smaller than our computer screens.

  I'd found that many news-site reviewers don't know about a valuable Android feature that is crucial to enjoyment of web pages on small devices (this applies very well to Android smartphones too of course), and those just using a device like the Kindle Fire won't tend to know about them either.

While joining in discussions on Amazon Kindle Forums community where so many Kindle owners hang out to help other owners and get tips in return, I saw the following question and replied to it more briefly than I have in blog articles -- it's likely that a shorter answer can be more helpful, at least at first.

  Kindle Fire Web SETTINGS - Here are the best settings for having this feature work well.
  When you're on the web-browser for the first time (this does not have to be done each time), lightly press the bottom MENU, which looks like a grid or an air-conditioner, with horizontal lines.  Then press Settings.

  At the second option, set Text size to "Normal"
  On the third option, set Default zoom to "Close'
  On the fourth option, set Auto-fit pages to "Format web pages to fit the screen"

' Posted on Jan 1, 2012 10:00:01 AM PST
RE says:

[Q]: I like my Kindle, but can't figure out how to surf the web and be
able to read things.  Yahoo com is so small a magnifying glass is
needed to see it.  I know this is off subject, but can someone tell
me how they do it?

[A} [I've edited my reply to to match how the Kindle Fire works in this situation today.]

Arts&HistoryFan/Kindleworld says:
You can use an Android feature to pinch-zoom the text to a larger size -- the paragraph of a column you're reading may or may not extend beyond the screen borders.

  Then, SINGLE-tap the screen (do that around the center of the screen), and it will keep this larger text size while adjusting the text to the width of the screen and wrapping it appropriately.

  That Single-tap actually acts to identify that column of text and to center and fit it to the width of the screen and at the same time SET the font at that size.

  If you Double-tap it at this point, it will adjust a bit more  if needed to set the width and margins even better while keeping that larger font size.

  You may, at first, have two columns up on the screen, but the Single-tap will indicate that this is the column of interest. The Double-tap afterward solidifies it and makes a further fine adjustment if needed.

  This works well for forum reading, when you have two or three columns and you want to read just the body of text posted by members of the forum, at a size comfortable for you on the Kindle Fire.

My favorite mode of casual portable web-reading as a result
  This also works well with things like Amazon Customer Reviews and news columns.  It's now my favorite portable way to read web text, because it's smaller than a 10" screen (I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tab tablet) and is easier to hold, with a screen width that is more like the width of a book I'd be reading, whether hard- or softcover.

  This means I can read web text in whatever size text is best for my eyes at the moment, in a smaller form factor that still presents largish text as needed.   This is called "re-flowing" the text and when it's done for a nicely large font-size, it is very nifty.

Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference or if you have trouble with it, and in the latter case, let me know what kind of web page is being read, with the link, and I'll take a look.
  One area in which it doesn't work is Amazon product pages' Product Descriptions -- they seem to format those NOT to wrap for some reason.

SOMEtimes, if you Double-tap instead of Single-tap the first time after upsizing the text, the double-tap leads to the tiny version again, but if you double-tap once more, then it goes back up to a medium-sized text that adjusts to the screen-wrap. The initial Single-tap works better.

Reminder: With both these units, but especially the Kindle Fire, a barely perceptible, very light press or tap will be more likely to activate touchscreen responses.

Kindle Touch 3G, US-only   Kindle Touch WiFi (US)   Kindle Touch WiFi-Only, outside US    Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. I'm having difficulty reading map details on my K3 and the zoom feature doesn't seem to actually zoom. Is there a way to magnify fine details on the K3, short of going to higher magnification for the whole page? I'd really like to be able to zoom a specific part of a map.

  2. Gordon,
    You don't mention whether it's a book, a PDF, or a web page but I'll assume it's most likely a book.

    A map would be an illustration: On the e-Ink Kindles, you can zoom any image but if the image resolution is LOW, then the resultant big image won't be nearly clear enough, so it will all depend on high the publisher's resolution was for the image.

    On the K3 or Kindle Keyboard, move your 5-way to the center of the image and press down on the 5-way. The magnifying glass should appear in these situations. Click on that and you'll get a full-screen. I hope that the map resolution is high enough to make the difference.

    - Andrys

  3. I'm reading Undaunted Courage by S. Ambrose. It includes essential maps of the Lewis and Clark expedition, however, the maps are very hard to read even when I highlight them with the 5-way and press down. The magnifying glass does appear but the map remains the same no matter what I do. Perhaps the resolution simply isn't high enough, as you suggest. So many ebooks are "mass scanned" and the illustrations do suffer.

    Thanks for your comments on this and other matters. Your blog is always worth a visit,


  4. Gordon,
    When the magnifying glass appears, then you click on that with the 5-way and it should go full screen. The e-Ink Kindles have no half-way thing about their image-zoom, they go to full screen landscape-style but if the image is low-resolution, it'll just enlarge them but the words won't be particularly clear though sometimes one can puzzle it out. The map shouldn't remain the same, unless the original already fills the page. Let me know if that makes a difference...

    Thanks for the nice words, Gordon.

  5. I did try that routine, Andrys. The K3 screen flashed and nothing changed.--I saw no magnification, even through the plus sign had appeared before I clicked on it.

  6. Gordon, sorry you're seeing no change. That's really odd. It's never happened to me that the picture would not enlarge, unless it already filled the screen.

    Could you try another image?

  7. The maps do fill the screen but with details that are much too small. I was trying to magnify the details but had no luck.

    1. Gordon, that's what I meant when I said that if the images were low-resolution they'd just be blurry or ugly and not informative. All it does is blow it up to full screen and if the image is high-resolution then you can read it better. If not, then it's worse than no help, as you've experienced.

      The best I can do with the 6" screens is read content with small lettering in Landscape. This is why I got a good Kindle DX long ago.

      On Kindle Fire or an iPad or something in between, you can zoom an image to a size beyond the screen, but if the publisher made low-resolution images (and it's extremely important they understand this) the images are useless zoomed.

      Sorry I couldn't help on this. I have lots of books with maps and am very grateful to publishers who decide to use the higher-resolution images. It's just extremely important for trying to read the fine print on a map, and this holds for large screens too because you want the person to be able to see the lettering and it takes a higher resolution to fill a larger, good-quality screen well.

  8. OMG, thank you so much for this post. I have had problems with the text size on a few sites and it was driving me nuts! All fixed now! Thanks again!

    1. Great to know, Jodipb! Thanks for the feedback :-)


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