When developing a site, these are some points on how you should deal with texts:
- Your text must be integrated in HTML format, which means, the font for your main body text should be similar to the primary font used by the HTML code. If desired, you can use separate font for image headings, advertisement or other elements of the site.
- If you want to use image-based texts, you should use them only for headlines, pull quotes and page headings. When your webpage uses image-based text, it will load slower in the browser window than if you present the text as HTML texts. In addition, image-based texts can’t be read by search engine bots. True, you can add HTML tags on images with attributes such as long descriptions and alt texts, but image-based text should be treated more as an exception than as a rule.
- You should only use cross-platform fonts. Put differently, the fonts you use in a web development project should be widely available on users’ computers regardless of what operating system or browser they use. The text should be rendered perfectly on their screens. Unfortunately, unless you employ an advanced technique like sIFR, the collection of fonts you can use are rather limited. At this moment these are fonts that can be safely used in your HTML:
o Times New Roman
o Courier New
o Arial Black
o Sans Serif
- For fonts with decorative descenders and ascenders, you should use Georgia, for unornamented fonts you should use Arial and for standard text you can use Verdana. Despite the font restrictions, there are still ways to add a little pizzazz to your main body text. You can make different elements of your content (such as headings, bylines and footers) smaller, bigger, italicized or bolder. You can also use varying colors to the text to make it more attractive (just don’t go too far) and with magic of CSS you can do many more things. When setting up a page using HTML and CSS, you can choose to use font sets, which means the site will be rendered based on the available fonts in user’s computer. For example, your font set could be consisted of Sans-Serif, Helvetica, Arial and Verdana. As the default, Sans-Serif is the preferred font for your webpage, but if that font is missing from the user’s site, then the page will be rendered in Helvetica, and so on.
- Occasionally, the client wants you to use an obscure, non-crossplatform font in the site. In this case, you should explain what may happen in the future and suggest a proper workaround, including using cross-platform font for the bulk of the font or using a font set. If possible insist on using common fonts marked up with CSS.
You should be aware that browsers on MacOS X may render text differently than browsers on Windows and Linux. If possible make a complete comparison by using three major OSs (Windows, MacOS X and Linux) in your development team. For example, Safari in Mac tends to display texts with true PostScripts fonts using anti-aliasing making them look smoother and sharper, especially on letters with curved edges. By contrast, PC browsers tend to employ different technology, as the result the text may not look as good as in a Mac. If you’re developing a site using a Mac, try to continuously see the changes you make in a Windows-based PC, so your client and the visitors won’t be disappointed with the result.