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Unrelated to content, it's interesting that I could reduce the scaling to not 90, not 75, not even 67, but a whole 50%, in order to have the font sizes be of comfortable normal size rather than extremely large. It's a pattern I'm noticing more and more, and it makes me worry.

That’s just the nature of different displays.

By default the font is about as big as what you get in your typical novel assuming typical reading distances (on a pretty standard 1440×900 logical resolution 15.4″ display, and that’s certainly not a display with an atypically high logical resolution). For me that’s just perfect and I actually think it’s just perfect for most people. In general the font size tends to be way too small on most websites.

It's optimized for mobile. I"m reading it on an iPhone and it's perfect.

Odd, it looks like you're getting down-voted. I mean, I'm no more of a fan of "page layout complaint that has nothing to do with the article" comments than anyone else, but I don't know that it's down-vote-worthy.

Anyway, at the apparent risk of being on the receiving end of some down votes myself, I'm more curious why giant fonts are a trend. I'm old, I wear progressive lens (what used to be known as "bifocals"), and I still hit the Cmd⌘-+- combo a few times to crank it down to a readable size. Is it some attempt to capture the aging baby boomer market? (I ask with tongue somewhat in cheek...)

Fonts render better at larger sizes (i.e. with less subpixel antialiasing issues).

Also, until recently most browsers didn't support subpixel typographic adjustments (for instance, "letter-spacing: 0.4px"), and you could only adjust this stuff reliably if your font-size was higher than 20px.

That said, 16px is the default base font size on most user agents, and it seems adequate for reading on many devices. However, I tested 16px in Luis's site and it was not quite satisfactory. 19px seems to be the sweet spot in this case.

Ultimately, no font-size is perfect for everyone. Be thankful that your browser zoom works ;) Even on a desktop, sometimes at night, with f.lux on, I have to zoom HN to read it comfortably (thankfully Safari has tap to zoom in an area).

I'm more curious why giant fonts are a trend

If you imagine that page on a phone screen, you'd find that the font size is probably a lot more normal than it is large. If you're expecting > 50% of traffic on mobile then that's the use-case you optimise for.

Why not use media queries to apply screen-appropriate CSS?

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