Chapter 3. Beautifying the Web
Hacks 21–28: Introduction
Graphic designers have long decried the constraints of the Web. Differences across browsers and platforms destroy their carefully designed layouts. Everything takes too long to load, destroying their hopes for the user experience. And don’t even get them started about fonts.
But all is not lost. The Web might look grungy and minimalist compared to a well-laid-out magazine or book, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few steps in the right direction. The hacks in this chapter focus on making the Web a kinder, gentler, more visually appealing place to visit. Well, more visually appealing anyway. Kindness and gentleness: you’re on your own for those.
Banish the Scourge of Arial
Make the Web a typographically better place.
The Arial font is the bane of typographical snobs everywhere. Originally conceived as a cheap clone of Helvetica (due to licensing fees), Arial was adopted by Microsoft in Windows 3.1 and has since taken over the world. Firefox uses Arial as one of the default fonts for web pages that don’t specify a default. Despite the rich capabilities for specifying multiple fallback fonts in modern browsers, Arial continues to dominate typography on the Web.
The first thing I do when I reinstall Windows (and the first thing you should do before running this hack) is change the default font in Firefox. Under Windows, select Tools → Options to open the preferences dialog. In the General pane, click the Fonts & Colors button ...