Closed Bug 1190816 Opened 7 years ago Closed 7 years ago

[Reader] Fonts with closed aperatures are suboptimal in legibility

Categories

(Toolkit :: Reader Mode, defect)

39 Branch
defect
Not set
normal

Tracking

()

RESOLVED INVALID

People

(Reporter: newsletters, Unassigned, NeedInfo)

Details

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:39.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/39.0
Build ID: 20150629114848

Steps to reproduce:

I used Firefox's Reader Mode.


Actual results:

The font used for articles in Reader Mode was Nimbus Sans, which, like Helvetica which it is based on, is a font with closed counters -- excellent as a display font, suboptimal as a body font.


Expected results:

A font with open counters, such as Mozilla's own Fira Sans, Adobe's excellent Source Sans Pro, or Google's widely-used Open Sans, is much more suitable for body text.
Component: Untriaged → Reader Mode
Product: Firefox → Toolkit
Summary: Nimbus Sans is suboptimal in legibility → [Reader] Nimbus Sans is suboptimal in legibility
Firefox uses the following CSS to determine what typeface to use:

   font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;

Presumably you're getting Nimbus as your OS default for sans-serif (or have explicitly configured Firefox to use it for "sans-serif") , we don't explicitly choose it in reader view.

Bug 1119429 covers adding Fira, but there are I18N complications there, and is not being actively worked on.
Status: UNCONFIRMED → RESOLVED
Closed: 7 years ago
Resolution: --- → INVALID
(In reply to Justin Dolske [:Dolske] from comment #1)
> Firefox uses the following CSS to determine what typeface to use:
> 
>    font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;

This CSS is problematic on its own, as both Helvetica and Arial are fonts with closed aperatures. Prioritizing e.g. Verdana, Tahoma, Open Sans, or Noto Sans would solve this problem.

This is a UX issue -- a ux-typography keyword would fit it well.

> Presumably you're getting Nimbus as your OS default for sans-serif (or have
> explicitly configured Firefox to use it for "sans-serif") , we don't
> explicitly choose it in reader view.

The OS (and Firefox's) default for sans-serif is DejaVu Sans, but it does seem that Nimbus is used to replace Arial and Helvetica.

> Bug 1119429 covers adding Fira, but there are I18N complications there, and
> is not being actively worked on.

The simple fix would be to either remove Arial and Helvetica from the CSS entirely or to prioritize fonts with open aperatures over them.
Flags: needinfo?(dolske)
Summary: [Reader] Nimbus Sans is suboptimal in legibility → [Reader] Fonts with closed aperatures are suboptimal in legibility
I don't have time to focus on this, and I believe it's working per spec for most users right now.
Flags: needinfo?(dolske)
Hmm, that wasn't super helpful. Let me bounce this over to Michael instead -- do you want to make any changes to the system fonts we select for Reader Mode?
Flags: needinfo?(mmaslaney)
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