Beautiful, practical, flexible typography on the Web is practically non-existent and still remains a web designer’s dream. We’ve drawn a few steps closer through Flash- and CSS-based inline replacement techniques but at the price of accessibility and elegant code. Fortunately a member of the W3C’s CSS Work Group, Jason Teague, volunteered to be the primary advocate for the CSS3 typography modules. And he’s asking for our input.
These are the typography modules for CSS3:
…contains the properties to select fonts, as well as properties for font “adjustments”, such as emboss and outline effects, kerning, and smoothing/anti-aliasing. Font selection is identical to the similar section in CSS2. The font adjustment properties are new to CSS3.
…provides syntax for describing fonts: their name, their style, which characters they cover and also where to download them from. Adding such descriptions to a style sheet allows a designer to be more precise in font selection and, if the browser supports font downloading, to use fonts that people are unlikely to have installed, including fonts that the designer created himself for the purpose. Web fonts are also used by SVG and, conversely, one can use SVG to create fonts for download. Web fonts existed already in CSS2.
If you ask me, and I’m speaking as a non-expert in typography, I just want the type size renderings to be normalized across all browsers first. With all the new properties about to hit as CSS3 becomes mainstream (it’s working on Safari already), web designers will face even more problems just trying to keep websites sane-looking across different browsers.
Problem is, the W3C is not the right venue for raising this problem since it’s the browser vendors that render styles differently. And I’m not just referring to Internet Explorer here. We all want pixel perfection, do we not? But is it even possible? Not having to choose between px, em, and pt font sizing would be a good starting point.
Regardless, it’s good that there’s an open communication line between the general Web community and the working group. It doesn’t matter if you’re a type fiend or a casual web surfer. All you have to do is leave a comment (you have to register first), and your voice will be heard. So, what have you been wishing for when it comes to web typography? Sound off at Jason’s blog now!