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Designing Mobile Interfaces by Eric Berkman, Steven Hoober

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Appendix C. Mobile Typography

Introduction to Mobile Typography

Mobile and small-screen design is largely about communicating information to the user. More often than not, regardless of how exciting and shiny the interface is, this will still be centered on the display of text content.

Mobile typography is about the selection and use of all the type elements within the design. It is only partly about the selection of the correct font and face, and has a great deal to do with selecting display technologies, understanding sizes, and applying conventional design methodologies (size, shape, contrast, color, position, space, etc.) to best employ the type elements.

Challenges of Mobile Typography

Computer-based type, especially for Internet display, has always been a challenge due to display technologies (resolution), availability of type, color and contrast reproduction variations, and size variations. Mobile devices take these issues, magnify them, and add a spate of unique environmental and use-pattern issues. The primary barrier is of technology, and the primary concern is of readability within the user’s context.

Type originally existed as shapes cut out of metal. When digital typesetting first became commercially viable, this model was followed and these letterforms were turned into vector glyphs, mathematically describing the shape of the character.

Smartphones now generally support this sort of type, and may include many fonts and faces and scale uniformly, allowing almost unlimited ...

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