I’ve primarily used “Arial” and “Verdana” as my html text fonts. Recently, I’ve been re-visiting that as a rule. There’s been a number of Windows and Mac OS updates in the “wild” for a while now, so perhaps my options have expanded and I thought it’s a good a time as any to freshen up my work.
Cross-platform font options
With a little google searching at the end of last year I ran across this great web fonts chart. It’s awesome, as it lists Windows fonts and their Mac equivalent and sights what type of user might have them installed. Using this chart you can at least give a large chunk of your audience a slightly enhanced look, and provide similar options to the rest.
Font embedding and Dynamic font replacement techniques
There’s also a lot promise with font embedding and dynamic font replacement techniques as well. But it’s widely understood to stay away from those options for large blocks of text.
In addition, I know I’ve personally had issues with whether the text I wanted to convert was a link, could I use hover states, and if I could make the text selectable. Factors you should think about. I won’t even mention the SEO or accessibility issues that might pop up. If you go this route, your solution has to degrade gracefully, or provide alternate text somewhere on the page.
What’s coming in HTML 5 and CSS 3
Jeffery Zeldman does a round up of whats being discussed for future standards for Web typography. With new options, also comes possible licensing wars with designers and programmers.
Feel free to go down the rabbit hole and check out this comprehensive review of the history of Web typography and some of the factors involved over the years.
1. Combined font survey results of most common fonts used cross platform.
2. Follow “HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts” on Facebook.
3. Check out 22 Handy HTML5 & CSS3 Tools, Resources And Guides.
4. It’s also good to review character encoding basics that might influence your font decisions.