W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > March 2010

Re: [css3-fonts] font-specific feature handling

From: Jonathan Kew <jonathan@jfkew.plus.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 22:00:44 +0000
Cc: "'Christopher Slye'" <cslye@adobe.com>, "'www-style'" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-Id: <290FD03E-34CF-4F70-AC20-47541D383121@jfkew.plus.com>
To: <rfink@readableweb.com>
On 20 Mar 2010, at 14:26, Richard Fink wrote:

> Friday, March 19, 2010 4:45 PM <cslye@adobe.com>:
>> but the web is (IMO) still about delivery of information, and
>> I think users deserve to get it, even if the designer doesn't
>> like the way it looks.
> The concern about the wrong contextual alternates being applied to the next
> font down the line in the font stack is about a concern that the *wrong*
> information would or could be delivered if extra controls aren't enforced.

The validity of this concern depends heavily, I think, on what you mean by "information". At some level, of course, every aspect of the intended appearance of the page is "information", but in general there's a more basic and essential kind of information embodied in the sequence of encoded characters, and the use of specific typefaces and contextual alternate glyphs are embellishments that may enhance the message but do not fundamentally alter the information content of the text. (After all, what's a visually impaired user with a screen-reader going to get? A pixel by pixel description of the appearance -- or the plain, unembellished text?)

If the precise visual appearance of the text is truly critical to the message, then I would suggest that the author should in fact be using some kind of graphic -- what is primarily in focus is the graphic appearance, more than the textual content.

And if font designers or web authors are using font features such as contextual alternates to access glyphs that fundamentally alter the meaning of the text being read, then.... well.... they are abusing the technology, and thoroughly deserve any resulting confusion. That's something we can frown upon, but we cannot legislate it into impossibility -- any more than we can prevent people using @font-face to deliver fonts where the character-to-glyph mapping has been scrambled so as to completely subvert the normal reading of the text.

Received on Saturday, 20 March 2010 22:01:46 UTC

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