Typography tribulations and the Kingdom of the Flash Replacement Font

Fonts. Why did it have to be fonts. A quick recap of the my last post: Fonts need to be HTML so that search engines can see them, but web-safe fonts are very limited (to about 6) so designers cannot make things as pretty as they would like. That is until now. Introducing Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR).

As stated normally, HTML and CSS allow you to use any font but there is no guarantee that it will show up as intended because the user may not have the specified font installed in their system. sIFR on the other hand allows website headings, pull-quotes, and other elements to be styled in any font by enabling the designer to embed the font of their choice in a Flash element that displays the text.

As a result the font used does not have to be installed on the user’s machine…. but wait, if it is just flash then we’re back to the same problem of it being invisible to search engines. But No time to argue. “Throw me the idol, I’ll throw you the whip.” What happens it is uses some fancy Javascript magic, Essentially, any assigned headings (h1, h2, etc…) will be converted to Flash files with the embedded font when the website is loaded. However, any search engine spider coming through your site will still be able to read all of the page content.

sIFR requires JavaScript to be enabled and the Flash plugin installed in the reading browser. If either condition is not met, the reader’s browser will automatically display traditional CSS-based styling instead of the sIFR rendering.

sIFR is not designed for body copy text as rendering greater bodies of text with Flash place formidable demands on the computer.