[Firefox Add-on] NoSquint allows users to zoom in/out and change the color of text and background on websites

Ever wish you could slap a web developer for choosing a particular color theme, or for making their text so small you have trouble reading it? (Ha!) While there is no perfect solution to the ah-my-eyes-hurt-when-I-visit-your-website problem (aside from forcing the webmaster to change the design), NoSquint is an add-on for Firefox that helps mitigate the eye pain.

NoSquint allows users to do two main things:

  • Zoom in/out on websites
  • Change the color of text and background on websites

As supplements to its two main tasks, NoSquint also allows users to specifically modify linked texts, and completely remove background images.

NoSquint works in two ways:

  1. NoSquint has “global settings” which are automatically applied to every website the user visit,
  2. Website-specific settings which are only applied when that specific website is visited.

Using NoSquint is very easy. After installation, NoSquint adds a button in the bottom toolbar of Firefox:

Whenever you visit a website that you want to modify, you simply need to double-click on the NoSquint button the website-specific NoSquint settings appear:

From the Site Settings window you can change the zoom level (full website zoom, or “text zoom” aka font size change), modify text color, modify background color, disable background images, and modify text links (color of unvisited links, color of visited links, and underline all text links). Once you change the settings from Site Settings automatically remembers the settings and loads them automatically next time you visit that particular website.

If you prefer to not customize settings for each particular website and would rather set default settings for all websites you visit, that is what Global Settings is for:

Take note that NoSquint comes with a default global setting of 120% full site zoom, so if you don’t want this you will need to change it via Gobal Settings.

In addition to setting the global zooming/colors settings, via Global Settings users can control how NoSquint remembers website-specific settings…

…and use an exceptions filter that helps NoSquint differentiate between websites that share the same domain but are different websites (i.e. google.com and mail.google.com):

Using the Exceptions feature is actually a lot more complicated than it sounds, but the developer includes excellent instructions via the Help button in case you find yourself to be lost.

I stated at the start of this article that NoSquint is not a perfect solution. So, then, exactly how well does it work? The following are comparison screenshots of dotTech to help you understand the performance of NoSquint:

No NoSquint Modifications

120% Full Zoom

120% Text Zoom

All Text in Black

Background in Teal(ish)

As you can see, the zooms (both full site and text) work really well. (NOTE: Depending on the website, full site zoom may cause some “sluggish” scrolling.) The change of text and background color leave a bit to be desired, though. Because of how websites are designed nowadays (multiple elements, multiple colors, etc.), it makes no sense to make all the text on a website to be one color or all the background to be one color; in fact it looks kind of dumb if you ask me. Changing the color of text/background would work a lot better if NoSquint had the ability to change the text/background color in a selected area only.

You can download NoSquint from the following links:

Version reviewed: v2.0.3

Supported browsers: Firefox 3.0b4pre – 3.7a1pre

NoSquint homepage [Firefox add-on page]

Thanks jimx29!

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