Fonts For The Mobile Environment

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...theme-based typeface designs, however, can be effective on mobile devices. The basic requirements of mobile device functionality still apply.

More Issues

There are still challenges to face in bringing scalable type to this platform. Mobile phones have additional constraints that can have an adverse effect on typographic quality. Limitations on memory, display size and display resolution impose unique requirements on font scaling technologies. The fact that there is a plethora of different phone platforms on which to port software, rather than the handful of platforms that exist for PCs, also poses a significant challenge....



The task of rendering East Asian characters legibly at small sizes is another hurdle that must be overcome in the mobile environment. As these characters are scaled down, spaces between character strokes may disappear. As a result, intricately shaped characters look blotted and lose their identity. There are technologies, however, that compensate for this effect by correctly preserving spatial relationships while removing some strokes without changing the meaning of the character.

Some language scripts, such as Arabic, are read from right to left and support contextual character substitution. Sometimes these scripts must also be combined western European text. This kind of functionality requires a special layout engine.

Teamwork Required

It is encouraging that graphic designers have been brought into the process of interface development. Too often, however, they work in a vacuum and hand their design to software engineers who are then faced with the task of interpreting the interface as best they can within the constraints of the available technology. A better solution is for designers and engineers to work in tandem and to collaborate on the interface design process.

Mainstream typographic fonts have made a successful transition to mobile devices — albeit with help from technology. All the... continued on page four >


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