A Castlecliff woman claims she had her eyesight "insulted" after querying the size of the print in the new Wanganui telephone book, before being offered a free magnifying strip.

Mrs O'Donnell said, in a letter to the Wanganui Chronicle, when she rang Yellow to ask how people were supposed to read the "teeny tiny" lettering, she had her eyesight insulted.

She eventually found out Yellow would send a free magnifying strip on request.

However, when she requested strips for her neighbours too, she was turned down because Yellow wanted to receive the requests individually.


Mrs O'Donnell said the fact Yellow had the strips available on request demonstrated they knew they were making life difficult for a huge part of society. "... they don't care or they would make it widely known these strips are available."

Yellow communications manager Charlene White said people needed to call to request a magnifying sheet individually.

"This is a free service. In addition, for those who are legally blind, they can call Telecom and register (with proof of their condition) for the 018 service for free," she said.

The company had made a range of changes to local directories to make the format more user-friendly, she said.

"One of the changes includes making the books smaller so they are easier to use, handle and store."

Before making the changes, the company ran some focus groups to gauge what people thought, Ms White said."People told us that though they would have liked the font size to remain at its original size, they were happy to trade off the slightly smaller font for a book that was easier to use and store. Which means it's now more likely to be kept by the phone and used more regularly."

The company was also committed to being more sustainable, with the new format being more environmentally friendly, she said.