Hot on the heels of our friends at Booking.com, we’d also like to share our experience of implementing a native font-stack.
The importance of good type
As most designers will attest, typography is an inherent part of any brand and product. Choosing the right typeface can play a huge part in whether something is readable, usable and understandable. As designers we have a responsibility that the products we create are designed with all of these in mind.
So why in 2017 do we still see large web-based products with sloppy, out-dated typography?
Before webfonts were a thing, we used to have to resort to what, at best, could be referred to as silly replacement techniques — think Cufon, SIFr or even images. And what’s worse, I’ve been guilty of using all of them.
In recent years, we’ve seen the likes of Google and Adobe enabling us all to click a few buttons and within seconds have a custom font served to our pages. So what’s the big problem?
Whilst this is great for small sites, serving a ~200kb file to millions of visitors just doesn’t fly from a performance point of view. This matters, and we as designers have a responsibility on our products performance as much as anyone else. We need to be aware the affects of a poorly performant site will have on user experience.
This is further amplified as we see more and more users access our products from mobile devices where users are not always on a high speed connection.
So how can we get good type and balance the cost of performance?
The native way
With each operating system investing millions of dollars in design, we’ve seen a large portion of that directed to type design; fonts like San Francisco, Roboto, and Segoe are created with mobile and legibility at the core. By leaning on those font families, we can form a fontstack which offloads these decisions to the OS.