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Readability 2.0

Mission: Meet or Exceed iOS Readability, establish Firefox for Android as the most readable browser out there

Reads

CURRENT STATUS & ACTION ITEMS

Where are we? As of 01/25

bug 831354 Ian has selected Open Sans and Charis for Content which now ship in nightly (fx21) √ We are investigating bug 833000 √ Kats has a prototype with improvements to font inflation element grouping, we have an initial analysis and he'll continue to refine bug 757257 as well as address D. Baron's comments √ Scott has a reflow-on-zoom with position maintenance build which is also under analysis

Next Steps:

  • Investigte and resolve bug 833000 and determine if we can uplift fonts to Fx20
  • Determine if Font Inflation element grouping is a sustainable solution and proceed accordingly
  • Refine the reflow-on-zoom code and have QA continue to qualify it until we can enable by default in build


Notes

Readability Team

Eng Management: blassey, mfinkle, madhava, jet
elancaster: pgm
dbaron:layout
lucas:front-end
sjohnson (irc: jwir3):layout
jkew (irc: jfkthame):layout
ian: UX
kats: mobile platform

Team members request iOS iPod Touch devices here:
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=mozilla.org&format=itrequest

Useful Links

http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/legible-readable-typography/
http://blog.mozilla.org/nattokirai/

Competitive Analysis

  • Opera/Stock browser uses reflow on zoom
    • There are issues with this, namely there are problems that occur on Opera Mobile when panning after a zoom.
    • Speed is an issue on Opera Mobile, too. Takes on the order of 2-4 seconds (on a Galaxy SII) for the reflow to complete after a zoom. Zooming back out seems to be much faster, though. Perhaps they do some sort of caching of the original reflow or something?
  • Chrome does inflation & reflow
  • Chrome doesn't do reflow on gesture. Kerning/linespacing isn't as nice
  • iOS is generally seen as better than Android
    • iPhone preserves appearance more than boost readability
    • iOS hides their font inflation well (less intrusive)
      • Also less aggressive, meaning that readability is sometimes sacrificed for layout (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I thought I would point it out).
    • iOS more reliably picks the "correct" web font (see wired.com for ex.)

(may just be fennec bugs there)

UX Themes

  • Balance Legibility vs. Beauty
  • Font Rendering at zoom levels
  • Use smaller fonts on a page, if rendered more crisply
  • Improved letterspacing/kerning
  • What is the user really wanting to see/read? Need this info from the front end to the layout engine
  • Open Question: Meet or exceed the iPhone in aggregate vs. individual features?
  • Font hinting keyed to a particular size/zoom
  • Basic Typography Features are slightly better on iOS than Android - UPDATE: An initial comparison of iOS Safari to Nightly 17 on Android http://cl.ly/0p3X2A3U3F0N

Implementation Considerations

  • Question: How much should we revisit font inflation decisions?
  • Shipping our own fonts to replace:
    • verdana, georgia, times
    • droid sans, serf
    • Ship better readable fonts. ( Adobe Myriad 'sans', Minion 'serif' as Arial/Helv/Times)
    • We already have an app specific font directory
    • Latin vs. non-latin basically the same rules (re: inflation)
  • Fennec Reader Mode (Lucas Rocha)
    • Open question: Where else other than the browser to have Readability features? e-mail client? other apps?
    • extract articles, headlines, typeset for readability
    • readability.com API
  • Readability stylesheets for reading (1 or many?)
  • Ultra-high Density Display Support
  • Very Low Density Display Support (B2G @ 320 x 480)
  • Text-size-adjust standardization?
  • We have our own text engine, but not our own fonts. Can we leverage that?