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ugly font rendering
IE vs. firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera
smallcompany




msg:4567770
 4:36 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is about any browser, and I wasn't sure where to post it. I opted for Firefox as I use it the most, plus this forum has the most posts among all browsers here.

How come that font rendering lately (somehow I did not notice it this much before) is so ugly in browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera?

How come that only IE renders them nice, really nice?

Why is this, and what is a big deal about fixing it?

For me it is ugly to the point that I find it distracting. I also find it that it depends on the font type. For example, Verdana seem to look better than some other.

Thanks

 

bill




msg:4567820
 7:29 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's likely your ClearType settings in Windows. ClearType is generally turned on by default in Internet Explorer.

smallcompany




msg:4568132
 5:02 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Actually it's the other way. ClearType is off on my PC. If I turn it on, I get better results in non-IE browsers on the websites that were ugly, but the Windows itself is worse, including app menus, etc. What is more and in contrary to sites I used as a reference, for example, Webmaster World looks worse with ClearType on.

I still wonder what's the deal with this and why things cannot be unified for the better user experience. How many people actually will go through ClearType setup in control panel and spend their eyes on "which one looks better?" especially when they get 4 or 6 choices.

Fotiman




msg:4568255
 12:53 pm on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've got ClearType enabled (Win7) and WebmasterWorld looks the same for me in all browsers.

tbear




msg:4568284
 5:06 pm on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

How many people actually will go through ClearType setup in control panel and spend their eyes on "which one looks better?" especially when they get 4 or 6 choices.


I know exactly what you mean, but I doubt if many 'normal' users even notice.

Just like with music, most people don't really hear the music, they're too busy dancing/working/doing something else to actually listen.

Even though I doubt that it enhances their experience, I don't think many people notice the font, let alone the quality of rendering.

dstiles




msg:4568311
 7:53 pm on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I use firefox on linux and there are no problems. I used to use it on windows 2000, also with no problems, and I've seen many sites on other browsers and platforms. This applies not only to sites I've designed myself but to others as well.

Some web sites do not specify a font or specify only (eg) Arial, which is not available on some platforms. This means that Mac and linux have to guess at the font instead of reading an instruction to use a string of fonts (eg arial, helvetica, freesans) culminating in a default font sans-serif. In cases with no directive the web browser uses a default that can be set within its preferences.

I suppose it's also possible that MS take great care to make MSIE look good. :)

lucy24




msg:4568397
 1:34 am on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I hope you're not implying that web sites ought to specify the font for body text. Headings, sure. But if you want people to stick around and read your content, better let them read it in the form they're comfortable with.

Some web sites do not specify a font or specify only (eg) Arial, which is not available on some platforms.

Well, if they didn't want to be different they wouldn't be using Linux in the first place :P

btw Arial is perfectly safe for Mac. The font-stack area at codestyle dot org says 98.89% Mac vs. 99.90% Windows, which is not a huge difference. (Even Linux runs about 2/3 if you can believe their numbers.)

:: insert painful description of potentially interesting blog site written in-- I am not making this up-- eleven-point #4B5D67 monospace ::

Leosghost




msg:4568524
 3:11 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

[xkcd.com...]

dstiles




msg:4568555
 6:48 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lucy - of course web sites should specify fonts. They can be over-ridden by the browser anyway but sites can easily become a visual mess without at least a hint of font type and size. I choose fonts that are available on most computers, beginning with the most likely and running out to a default. I choose fonts that are as near as possible to each other in height, width and style.

Coincidentally a client asked me a couple of days ago why his site looked different on my (linux) machine to his Mac. From your note on font availability it seems probable that almost all his clients see his site as he does, not as I do; although in reality the difference is slight. Those who do not probably have a browser-override, probably something like 16pt comic sans! :)

lucy24




msg:4568586
 9:56 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

They can be over-ridden by the browser anyway

Only if the user has delved deep into their prefs. "Always use my fonts and sizes" (exact wording of course depends on browser) is never the default.

What, exactly, is so riveting about your body text (again: NOT headings) that it will lose its impact if read in, say, Palatino instead of Times, or Helvetica instead of Arial?

Express your font sizes as a percentage of the default, and everything will stay nicely in proportion. Use explicit numbers and the user will be forced to deploy the browser's "zoom text" menu option, creating a new sequence of sizes that may or may not still be in proportion to each other. Net result: irritated user and site that ends up looking even less like your original vision.

@leosghost
Hee, hee, hee.

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