Why is text in Firefox so ugly?
December 9, 2008 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Why is text in Firefox so damn ugly and is there anything, from a design perspective, that I can do about it? (Okay, text in FF may not be ugly, exactly, but it doesn't compare to IE, Opera, or Safari.) I'm making a website for a friend, and he's complained that in FF the text isn't 'pretty'. Since FF is all I use, it looks great to me - but damn if he isn't right that the copy looks sharper./smoother in other browsers. Whassup with that?
posted by zylocomotion to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't see it...
posted by Hargrimm at 8:35 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds like your friend is used to IE7's anti-aliasing/ClearType.

IE7 turns on "font smoothing" by default which is just ClearType. You can turn on Cleartype in XP very easily. I suggest the ClearType tuner here. That will smooth all fonts for all applications, not just firefox.

If youre using linux then you'll need to download some better fonts.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:36 PM on December 9, 2008 [4 favorites]

As for Safari, it has its own font smoothing engine (the same one in Mac OS).
posted by zsazsa at 9:45 PM on December 9, 2008

This is a little old but it might help explain a few things:

posted by kpmcguire at 10:12 PM on December 9, 2008

I've seen an extreme version of this issue occur with a simple web site knocked together with Microsoft Frontpage. Turned out that Frontpage was generating two different versions of every page: a proper HTML version, which it used IE conditional comments to display if your browser was IE, and a totally hideous pre-rendered PNG of the entire page for every other browser.

I responded by banning the use of Frontpage at our site and force-installing Nvu (now maintained as KomPozer) on all workstations. No, I don't care if you can turn that idiot behaviour off. I don't even care if it's easy to turn off.
posted by flabdablet at 2:46 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Its all a matter of perspective - I much prefer the sharp/crisp text in FF vs the blurry fake anti-aliased text in IE or Safari.
posted by missmagenta at 3:58 AM on December 10, 2008

I agree with you totally. Text in safari or IE simply looks a lot better and has a more "printed" feel to it.

I dont think it has to do so much with the antialiasing engine as placement of the individual letters.
posted by ilike at 9:43 AM on December 10, 2008

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