It seems that film and television directors, especially American ones, are very narrow-minded and self-centered. I have seen countless instances of shows and movies recently where a character checks their mobile-phone to see a message but the text was too damned small to read. What makes it all the more irritating is that the phone is usually large enough on the screen that it could have been legible, but they wasted most of the phone’s screen with blank space.
Apparently directors are not aware that not everybody has a 72″, high-definition LCD flat-screen television or high-resolution “Retina display” iPad. Directors are self-centered and think of themselves and their rich friends and family and forget that many viewers may be watching on small and/or low-definition/resolution screens. They also forget that not everybody will be watching on a 100′ movie-screen or on an iPhone 3″ away, but maybe on 19″ televisions from 6′ away on their couch. Even with good eyesight, the tiny text on the phones in these shows and movies is difficult, and often impossible to read which makes it hard for the viewer to follow the story (let alone for people whose sight is not perfect).
Directors need to put themselves in other people’s shoes and think of how others who are not rich may be experiencing their works. Website designers frequently examine what their sites look like in other browsers to ensure an optimal experience for the maximum number of people, but directors don’t seem to bother at all. This is all the more annoying because fixing it is almost always exceedingly easy, fast, cheap, and trivial. They already often have to make up a fake phone screen to avoid unintended product-placement as it is, so they could easily just make the fake screen contain larger text. Even with actual screens, it should not be difficult to make the text larger and more legible because most devices include accessibility features to assist users with poor vision.
While I’m ranting about the poor choices that director’s make, I’ll add another one: making things too dark. There are few things more annoying to watch than a scene that is too damned dark. I hate having to watch a screen of almost all black with the occasional flash of meaningless bright area, wondering what the hell is going on. It is aggravating to have to turn up the brightness and gamma (and thus wash the screen out) to be able to see what’s happening. This goes for movies, shows, and even video-games. They already went to all the trouble of creating the sets, makeup, and costumes (or models and level geometry) in which to shoot the scene, why would they then make it too dark for anybody to actually see their work‽ That’s just a waste and causes frustration. (Obviously I am not talking about the occasional scene which is meant to be completely dark so that the viewer is not supposed to know what is happening other than through sounds.)