fonts.com blog
Posts Tagged ‘google’

by Alan Tam

Monotype Imaging’s Fonts.com Web Fonts team and Google have been brainstorming ways to make Web fonts better. Our main focus has been on file size. The idea is simple. Smaller Web fonts are faster Web fonts. Faster is better.

Looking to reduce Web font file sizes, the Google Web Fonts team began working closely with us to discuss the advantages of our patented MicroType® Express (MTX) algorithm. The results led to the joint conclusion that in order to truly maximize the value of this technology, it needs to be adopted by Web browsers and font tools. Thus, we decided that the greatest benefits would be achieved by sharing MTX with the entire Web community. As a result, Monotype Imaging has agreed to make the MTX format, as described in our W3C submissions, available to the public at no cost, subject to the terms of a license which can be found at: http://www.monotypeimaging.com/aboutus/mtx-license.aspx. Further details on the contributed technology can be found at http://www.w3.org/Submission/MTX.

Our ongoing collaboration will lead to a significantly better user experience, including:

  • Page load speed – with smaller font files, Web fonts used in your branded content will load faster than ever!
  • Font rendering quality – smaller font files enable greater screen optimization of Web fonts for noticeably better display quality across a variety of device screens.
  • Font features – smaller fonts enable more room for OpenType® features.
  • Cross platform performance – With Monotype Imaging and Google working with the W3C, the Web community and other browser vendors on adopting Web font compression technology, you will see enhanced performance of your Web font content across browser platforms. In other words, you’ll be able to deliver great experiences to your audiences regardless the browser.

Initially, Monotype Imaging and Google will focus on font creation tools. Currently, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer® browser supports EOT (Embedded OpenType) font files which make use of MTX compression. Open source tools needed to make EOT files can now be extended and improved. Beyond these efforts are several other interesting prospects including the possibility of adoption by additional browsers. Learn more about this collaboration.

We are excited to continue our collaboration with the Google Web Fonts team and to see how the Web community might make use of this technology. More to come!


by Vikki Quick

I’m at ATypI, the type conference being held in Reykjavik right now, and I’m struck by the diversity of the presentations. Type is being dissected at every angle, from looking at new methods for manipulating font outlines during the typeface design process to discussing the “issues and perspectives in cross-cultural typographic communication.” Of particular interest was one talk, “The Subtle & Peculiar Lessons We Learned from Google Web Fonts Users” – the focus of this post.

Dawn Shaikh, senior user experience researcher at Google, and Mark Tobias Kunisch, also from Google and the lead user experience designer for the Google Web Fonts project, spoke about what they learned from a study conducted last winter on Web fonts users. Data was gathered from more than 50 Web fonts users, ranging from novice to experienced users.

Dawn Shaikh and Mark Tobias Kunisch of Google discuss a study on Web fonts users.

The study revealed that users are more likely to be dabbling in Web fonts than fully committing to them. Users are looking for high-quality fonts, “lots and lots” of fonts and complete font families for body copy. Users want to be able to input their own custom text to see how a font will look, and they want a fast, easy implementation, a try-before-you buy model, and the ability to print the fonts on paper to show to clients. Comparing fonts side by side is important to users, and they also like to be presented with font suggestions, but not subtle ones where they might be missed and not obvious ones that can feel condescending. Users want their Web font service to be a beautiful website that showcases fonts, with excellent organization of the fonts that work on all platforms, all browsers, all devices, all the time. Users also want an easy way to download fonts.

What do users not care about? The study showed that users don’t care about detailed statistics on font usage, or information about the font designers. The study also revealed that users aren’t looking for international fonts, although Dawn thinks a wider study with more international participants would change that view.

What are users concerned about? In the case of open source fonts, users are concerned about quality, missing characters and incomplete families. Users are concerned there are not enough high-quality typeface families that can perform well in mobile devices.

Further, users are also concerned about tagging. They’re suspicious because they’re not sure why a font would be tagged as “old-fashioned” or any other subjective or unclear term that may mean different things to different people. When selecting fonts, users currently favor narrowing a search and then viewing the designs – a filter then scroll approach.

What are some of thoughts on paying for fonts? Study participants had first tried Google Web Fonts for free and most had trial accounts with other services and go back and forth. There were mixed views on paying for Web fonts using a subscription model or as a single transaction. Users relate to the simplicity of a one-time charge but see it as limiting, since subscription plans provide access to a wide range of fonts at any time.

Users are unsure as to how to determine the value of Web fonts or how to measure their return. Users are also scratching their heads about how to educate their clients about Web fonts.

The study helped to shed light on what’s working – and what’s not – and has helped Google to employ user-centric methods to create a new user interface for browsing, selecting and using Google Web Fonts. The fact that Google is sharing results means the whole Web font community can benefit. It also confirms we’re still at the beginning of this shift in designing for the Web.

Click here to learn more about Google’s Web fonts research.

 


by Chris Roberts

Fonts.com Web Fonts now provides advanced features for controlling how Web fonts are loaded into Web pages.

Customers can now use the WebFont Loader, an Open Source JavaScript™ library that provides a variety of options for Web developers to control the Web font loading experience. The WebFont Loader is served through the Google AJAX Libraries API.

The functionality allows developers to deliver a more consistent experience across browsers and tap additional features related to the process of downloading and displaying fonts on a Web page. At various phases of Web fonts loading into a browser, WebFont Loader provides notification of event status. Web developers can then write code to control browser behavior based on the status of events. For example, one popular use is to combat the notorious “flash of unformatted text” (a.k.a. FOUT). A description of WebFont Loader capabilities is provide on the Google Font API website located here: http://code.google.com/apis/webfonts/docs/webfont_loader.html

Fonts.com Web Fonts offers over 10,000 premium quality fonts from leading type designers and foundries for license as Web fonts. Fonts.com Web Fonts makes it simple and fast for Web designers and developers to implement Web fonts by adding a single line of code to Web pages. Both JavaScript and non-JavaScript options are available. The WebFont Loader JavaScript library hosted by Google offers an alternative method for loading the fonts and CSS defined within Fonts.com Web Fonts projects.

To get started, you can check out this sample page we’ve created using example code: http://thewebfonts.com/googleapi/googlemti.html You’ll also need your Fonts.com Web Fonts project ID. To get your project ID, login to your account and visit the Publish tab. If you’re using the JavaScript publishing method, your project ID is the character string in your line of code just before the .js suffix. If you’re using the non-JavaScript publishing method, your project ID is the character string in your line of code just before the .css suffix.

We hope our customers find this new capability useful. Watch this space for further enhancement to Fonts.com Web Fonts.