Font Smoothing, Anti-Aliasing, and Sub-Pixel Rendering

Joel Spolsky has a nice piece comparing the sub-pixel text anti-aliasing from Mac OS X and Windows. Personal taste regarding this is highly subjective, but I think Spolsky is right that Safari might face an uphill battle on Windows not because Mac OS X’s font rendering is worse, but simply because it’s noticably different than all other text rendering on Windows. (Including that of iTunes, which uses Windows’s standard text rendering.) Even Mac users who don’t particularly care for Mac OS X’s sub-pixel anti-aliasing simply get used to it after a while, because all text on Mac OS X is rendered that way.

I also think that long-term, Apple’s algorithm is going to work better on higher-resolution displays (including the iPhone’s 160 pixels-per-inch screen). With higher resolutions, forcing strokes onto even pixel boundaries matters less.

Thursday, 14 June 2007