The Benefits of Anti-Aliasing

As part of my anti-aliasing research, I spent some time surfing other weblogs to see how they tackle the problem. During my search, I stumbled across these articles at They're a great introduction to how the OSX browsers (IE5.2, Safari and Camino) handle font smoothing.

A disturbing offshoot of my research was this discussion with Dave Hyatt, a  Safari engineer, who claims that the benefit of anti-aliasing small fonts is a subjective matter. Apparently, there's a contingent of people who think that every typeface looks better smoothed, regardless of size.

That frightens me. It's not about whether it looks good, it's about readability. Anti-aliasing was introduced for smoothing display type. It's not meant for low resolutions and small type sizes.

It seems like it would be pretty easy to objectively prove or disprove the merits of anti- aliased body copy with some reading tests that track speed and comprehension.

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