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Chapter 4. Ensuring Visual Appeal > Using Fonts Effectively on Web Sites

Using Fonts Effectively on Web Sites

Web sites are different from other media in that you have to rely on the users' fonts to display the site content. Web sites draw from the fonts available on the Web site visitor's machine. When you choose fonts for your Web pages, you need to make sure you choose common ones that most users have on their computers. Otherwise, the computer has to make a substitution, and the results of that can be very unexpected and not at all pleasant. But you must plan for this scenario.

The font‐family method of choosing fonts for your pages is a tried‐and‐true practice. With this method, you instruct the browser to use one of a few different fonts. For example, if you specify that the font should be Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans‐serif, the visitor's machine tries to use Verdana first. If that is not available, it looks for Arial, and so on. If none of the three named fonts are available, the visitor's computer uses its own, default, sans serif font. Serif fonts have little feet or tails attached to the character; sans serif fonts don't. See Figure 4-10 . (Book IV, Chapter 1 has more information.) The result of using this font‐family method is that you don't have exact control over the font for every single user, but you can establish a look and feel with fonts that are similar. That way, your users can have roughly the same experience. It's a safe bet that no one will be able to tell that your site has Verdana on one machine and Arial on another — unless the person looking is a typography fan.

Figure 4-10: Serif fonts versus sans serif fonts.



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