152

Update 3 - The changes from round 2 are live, but with one notable exception: On Linux, we spec’d “Liberation Sans” and “Liberation Mono”. Did some digging on that PR and installed a few Linux VMs and found Liberation to be the best way to normalize across Linux distros. It also solves an issue where Ubuntu Mono—regardless of how you feel about the typeface—is smaller than its sans-serif counterpart.

Also noteworthy, we aren’t touching webkit antialiasing right now. I was reacting to a change in macOS 11.3 that removes the ability to set antialiasing at the OS-level. I hope it’s a bug, and is patched up in 11.4.

Plenty of little bugs to squash yet, and I’m chipping away at them. If something feels off on Windows, do revisit your ClearType settings. I’ve seen some folks realize with this switch that they were running some non-stock antialiasing.


Update 2 - Alright folks, got some follow-up for you. You can see I’m considering some changes over at the Stacks repo. Sidenote: did you know our front-end library is open source and y’all can see what we’re up to?

  1. macOS and iOS continue to get San Francisco
  2. Windows continues to get Segoe, but we drop system-ui since it isn’t quite ready for primetime.
  3. Linux gets “Arial” which is never Arial, but often Liberation Sans, or Noto, but maintains the status quo.
  4. Android gets Roboto, but we don’t specify it since it was clobbering Debian
  5. If all else fails, sans-serif.

As for general font sizes, I think our fonts have always been too small. The base font size is 13px and we even show some bits of UI at 11px. I’ve got long term goals of bumping those up a point or two. I hear y’all with aging eyes. Mine are also aging—always have been, always will be 😛

I’ve read every comment and answer here and I think this strikes a balance between how we want to move forward and issues people have had in good faith. I’ll get to chipping away at the small issues once we iron out the bigger ones.

If this follow-up works, I’ll make sure to update the screenshots in this original post in a third update.


Update 1 - These changes are now live!

TL;DR We’re shipping system fonts as our default font stack. We plan to do this on May 10th, 2021.

What?

We’re planning on specifying system fonts on Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange Network. On macOS and iOS, you’ll see things set in San Francisco. On Windows, you’ll see Segoe. On Android you’ll get Roboto. Ubuntu will show, well, Ubuntu. We’ll also use their monospace equivalents when writing in code or rendering keyboard keys.

OS Sans Mono
macOS San Francisco San Francisco Mono
iOS San Francisco San Francisco Mono
Windows Segoe UI Consolas, or Cascadia Mono, Segoe UI Mono if you've installed those manually
Ubuntu Ubuntu Ubuntu Mono
Android Roboto Roboto Mono
Chrome OS Roboto Roboto Mono
Fallback sans-serif Menlo, Monaco, Consolas, monospace

We’re leaving serif fonts alone so those will stay as Georgia, Cambria, Times New Roman, Times, and then serif as a fallback. We really don't do much with serifs anyway, and we don’t want to mess with the themes that rely on them.

Here’s the exact font stack we’ve specified that’ll go live on the 10th.

@ff-sans:
    system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, // San Francisco on macOS and iOS
    "Segoe UI", // Windows
    "Ubuntu", // Ubuntu
    "Roboto", "Noto Sans", "Droid Sans", // Chrome OS and Android with fallbacks
    sans-serif; // The final fallback for rendering in sans-serif.
@ff-serif: Georgia, Cambria, "Times New Roman", Times, serif;
@ff-mono:
    ui-monospace, // San Francisco Mono on macOS and iOS
    "Cascadia Mono", "Segoe UI Mono", // Newer Windows monospace fonts that are optionally installed. Most likely to be rendered in Consolas
    "Ubuntu Mono", // Ubuntu
    "Roboto Mono", // Chrome OS and Android
    Menlo, Monaco, Consolas, // A few sensible system font choices
    monospace; // The final fallback for rendering in monospace.

Why?

Mark Otto put it really well on his personal blog, documenting GitHub’s rationale for switching. Like GitHub, our original font stack used Arial across macOS, iOS, and Windows. Arial was first created in 1982, and has served the web well for decades. But technology moves on. Modern system typefaces look better on both new high DPI screens, and old screens alike. Apple’s San Francisco and Microsoft’s Segoe both look great on retina displays, have more expressive weights, and improve readability across all contexts. With more weights, we can have better hierarchy. We can also get more expressive. For example, in dark mode, we could drop our font weights a bit for better readability.

But what about consistency?

We originally chose Arial because it was available on the widest set of devices, allowing us to have a consistent experience wherever you were. However, Arial doesn’t ship with Linux distros or Android devices. We’re currently only achieving consistency between macOS, iOS, and Windows, leaving 2 platforms to choose their system font. We’d rather have the consistency be shifted to the device itself—when viewing Stack Overflow on iOS, it’ll feel that much more native in San Francisco. Same with Android, which is already being displayed in Roboto.

We should also note that prior to these changes, our monospace font stack varied wildly. Now you'll have better consistency between sans and monospace, since we'll do our best to choose the right pairings.

Will my Stack Exchange site lose its custom font?

Nope! This change will not affect sites that have their own typefaces. Sites like Christianity and English will still be displayed in their custom fonts.

Future possibilities

If consistency were the absolute goal, we’d ship our own custom font. I would love to be able to truly express our brand through a typeface, but that means users would have to download custom fonts and wait for them to display. We’d also have to cover international character sets. Displaying custom fonts is getting more realistic every day at our scale, so we may revisit that choice at some point, and come back to a more consistent experience. System fonts let us modernize in the meantime without too many drawbacks.

Also, since a lot of our site is built using our design system, we can store these font stacks as CSS variables. We could allow users to more easily specify dyslexia-friendly typefaces, or load their own entirely.

Some screenshots

Safari on macOS Safari on macOS

Firefox on Windows Firefox on Windows

Firefox on Ubuntu Firefox on Ubuntu

So what now?

When this change drops, we could use your help in discovering any bugs—things like unexpected alignment, or any questionable bits where we clearly got the wrong typeface.

134
  • 124
    Hopefully this will prevent issues like 'pom’ getting mistaken for ‘porn’ in the future.
    – ColleenV
    May 4 at 19:39
  • 43
    Would still be nice if all the fonts made the difference between l and I (bonus points for not noticing which is which) substantially more noticeable, at least along the lines of what the Ubuntu font does. May 5 at 16:31
  • 16
    A welcome change as long as it doesn't break Tony the Pony.;-) May 5 at 16:44
  • 40
    What about non-ubuntu linux?
    – Aconcagua
    May 6 at 10:05
  • 16
    It seems arbitrary to simply pick Ubuntu out of thin air to be representative for Linux. What about openSUSE, Archlinux, Debian, etc... We will see how it goes, but this looks like another solution in search of a problem. I'd rather see Stack lead than just follow what github does... May 8 at 4:00
  • 31
    Could we have this as an option in our preferences? That way it'd look OK across most browsers, instead of excluding most in favor of, seemingly, macOS.
    – Ollie
    May 10 at 17:26
  • 65
    Please make this a toggle in the settings. The fonts look truly horrific
    – leonheess
    May 10 at 18:20
  • 48
    This is a bad change. At least on AskUbuntu - site that I visit (or visited) most often the Ubuntu font is much less readable than plain sans-serif, be it Arial, Liberation or whatever. I get tired just from browsing the site. It may look as a nice nice idea for someone who is only looking at Stack sites, but definitely not for someone who actually reads them. The whole effect of this will be that it will simply discourage me from visiting the site too often, just to save my eyes. :(
    – raj
    May 10 at 19:13
  • 15
    Oh my eyes... this font seems piexlized, too much curves, I am on Windows Chrome.... Don't like it...
    – serge
    May 10 at 19:29
  • 76
    Ewww (Windows 10). Can we have the old ones back please?
    – Nick
    May 10 at 23:31
  • 47
    Another Windows 10 + Chrome user here who hates this change. I think it looks even worse on StackOverflow dark mode. Code fonts look blown out (font-weight) and fuzzy at the edges. Smaller fonts like in comments are spindly, especially when italicised.
    – Phil
    May 11 at 0:20
  • 16
    I love SO Community, it makes a lightning-fast solution fixing any such Update. Thanks everyone who helped me to revert this. Segoe UI in current configuration is eye-bleeding font.
    – aepot
    May 11 at 0:22
  • 36
    As a Windows 10 user with an old, 23" 1080p display, I am definitely against this change. The sans-serif font is just slightly too thin for me to read comfortably, and at the same time the monospace font looks... almost blurry. My eyes are watering after reading the top couple answers here. May 11 at 4:47
  • 22
    As a nearly 50 year old viewing the site on Windows 10, this change is terrible for my aging eyes.
    – 17 of 26
    May 11 at 18:55
  • 19
    I wanted to have the clean logic of trying to show the system font where appropriate: you keep saying “system font”, but that’s not what these fonts are. They are actually system user interface fonts. So, they are appropriate nowhere for body text. They are designed for things like window titles or menu items, which are short phrases. As the font self-description says, “The new Ubuntu Font Family was started to enable the personality of Ubuntu to be seen and felt in every menu, button and dialog”. It is sheer luck that the Windows UI font is passable as a general-purpose font. May 12 at 11:34

60 Answers 60

1
2
7

The navigation bar doesn't look so good

Screen shot

  • The padding above and below the search field are not the same any more.
  • The +10 looks too far south-west.
1
  • 3
    All boxes look misaligned. That includes the tags beneath a question, the <kbd> box in your answer, and the [Active], [Oldest], [Votes] selection, for example.
    – Holger
    May 11 at 9:10
7

While I can't exactly provide a screenshot of it "faded" out elements - like "seen" but unhandled flags in the mod flag queue are indistinct and rather hard to read.

7

Author highlight of comments overlaps with above text

Character 'g' is underneath the below highlight

As you can see, the bottom part of the letter 'g' is hiding underneath the author highlight of the comment.

I think the best way to fix this is to make sure that the line with the name is spaced further from the text above.

1
7

I am not an expert in fonts, their names and everything.

But I am very upset to see Stack Overflow fonts were changed and everything looks very ugly to me now (Windows, Chrome).

Below are screenshots. The posts are simply much harder to read now.

Can you please return fonts back?

Again, I am not an expert, so I don't know what to do to have them like they were just a week ago. Just do it to me in the simplest possible way, thanks!

In the future: please!

Do not apply your awesome changes before I see them and tell you what I am thinking. You never seems to learn this very simple rule.

P.S.: the post may sounds arrogant, but I am intentionally using "I" instead of "we", "users" of "community".


4
  • What exactly are the things that are problematic? And well, your OS would be a useful data point since different OSes are rendering different fonts
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 18 at 7:43
  • 3
    @JourneymanGeek, saying third time, I am not an expert. It's ugly. It hurts my eyes. It was working before for years and now out of sudden the change. There are more important things to do. I am at boiling point now, it is harder to use site now. I wrote "Windows" and perhaps you can identify font from screenshot?
    – Sinatr
    May 18 at 7:47
  • Revisiting my post after some time. I must admit the new fonts looks Ok to me now. I just needed few weeks to get used to them. I still prefer the older fonts for long code block though. The new font is simply a wrong choice.
    – Sinatr
    Jul 9 at 11:49
  • The windows one? I have a definite issue with that :D
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jul 9 at 11:55
6

The font weight of Cascadia Mono is rather heavy, compared to the regular text font Segoe UI. Consolas looks much more comparable. However, another reason is that (on my machine at least) it's impossible to uninstall the Cascadia fonts as they are a part of the Windows Terminal app (ie, the only way to get rid of them is to uninstall the app). It's possible to uninstall Consolas if you don't like it.

4
  • 3
    Windows 10 user on Firefox. 100% my feelings. I don't like Cascadia Mono, it's too bold. The code looks much bolder than non-code. and the font is impossible to uninstall. Consolas looks much better.
    – jakub.g
    May 13 at 20:21
  • Screenshot of Cascadia rendering: i.imgur.com/OWIjBOP.png It looks especially jarring when code is not syntax highlighted (for example in <textarea> when editing): i.imgur.com/EJIMfB5.png
    – jakub.g
    May 13 at 20:31
  • Windows 10 has fonts that cannot be uninstalled without also installing other software? When you go to the Fonts folder, what does it say when you try to delete it? Or is it not even listed? May 14 at 0:13
  • I think Cascadia is too heavy as used at the moment, but I don't want to uninstall it either.
    – binaryfunt
    May 22 at 15:10
5

On Android Firefox it seems like it will permit more text on screen, compare before, after, and overlaid; though it will also change the number of characters on a line, and reopen (or aggravate) the bug reports about long names / tags, and overflowing columnar text.

4
  • 3
    Where are you getting your after screenshot from? We haven't shipped these changes yet. Regardless, the font shouldn't change at all on Android, since we're already rendering it today in Roboto since Android doesn't have Arial. 🤔 I've verified using the Stacks documentation site that the current production text matches the proposed font stack exactly. You can compare production to staging.
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 5 at 0:50
  • @AaronShekey, Comparing production and staging shows those fonts are identical; the only difference in the superimposed images is the browser's URL field. --- My example was produced by using my phone's UI to access the Accessibility Settings and force the font change to be applied; that's no different from a different browser where you would change the fonts, nor the result that would be expected, and the applicability of those other reports.
    – Rob
    May 5 at 1:39
  • A perhaps simpler explanation is that fonts have different names because they are different, excluding someone who has created a font by copying and renaming. While the anatomy may be consistent the vertical and horizontal proportion usually differs when rendered at the same size; and decimal sizes still don't align exactly depending on the character composition of each line.
    – Rob
    May 5 at 1:57
  • Here's a very small sampling of some of the complaints, which are supportive of my answer here, that resulted when we changed the fonts: meta.stackexchange.com/q/316797/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/353525/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/a/316196/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/311033/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/317237/282094
    – Rob
    May 5 at 2:34
5

Segoe UI vs Arial... Windows are of same size. The first seems more compact (Chrome, Windows)

enter image description here

1
  • 8
    This explains why all of a sudden i have to start zooming in on StackOverflow. 🤔 May 10 at 21:58
5

Not sure if it's a good or bad thing, but I wanted to acknowledge it anyway– On Mac now, with the new font selection, diamonds next to site mod usernames are huge in comparison to how they looked beforehand:

Diamonds are big in mod usernames

This is without a doubt just a quirk of using a new font, but wanted to report it in case it's undesirable.

4
  • 1
    Same for Firefox on Windows, but to a lesser extent.
    – GoodDeeds
    May 10 at 23:36
  • 4
    Maybe it's implying the moderators deserve more "recognition" 😆
    – 41686d6564
    May 11 at 0:33
  • 1
    Reminds me of a similar issue that happened a long time ago... May 11 at 3:27
  • 1
    Perhaps it's time to switch that diamond to an image?
    – Ryan M
    May 11 at 5:52
5

On mobile web, revision summaries are now displayed in a bold font, putting focus on something that's not really important:

new look with bold font on "asked 3hours ago" text

Former:

former look, normal font

Chrome 85.0 for Android 5.1.1.

1
  • If this is unrelated to the font changes, I can post this as a separate bug report (or feature request, if that's intended behaviour).
    – Jenayah
    May 11 at 7:02
5

I have a custom-tailored Chrome extension to bring back the old fonts:


CHROME EXTENSION


  • Reverts text fonts to Arial and code fonts to Consolas
  • other customizable settings...

    turn off all other options if you only need to revert the fonts

This was originally developed to revert the formatting changes (specifically the line height change) introduced in August 2020, but has since been extended to support other revertable changes as well.

enter image description here

I added the option to revert fonts back in May, but didn't get around to posting this till now. Hopefully people are still searching for easy solutions to the new fonts.

4

You may want to consider a font from the candidates for new default fonts for Windows expected in 2022. And if you consider that, you may want to wait until Microsoft makes their final choice, or stick with Segoe UI until then, and then switch. Just a thought.

I do recognize all Windows users aren't Windows 10 users. Perhaps Segoe UI for Windows <10 and one of the new ones for Windows 10.

8
  • 5
    The article isn't talking about replacing Segoe UI, the font in user interfaces, but Calibri, the font used in Office. Don't see a need to change here. May 5 at 17:12
  • I'm not following. I don't see Calibri mentioned anywhere. My thoughts are if you are going for a Windows system font for browsers on WIndows, at some point, they may want to look at those (around 2022).
    – Kit
    May 5 at 17:19
  • 1
    To quote from the article (emphasis added): Microsoft has commissioned five new fonts as potential replacements for Calibri. May 5 at 17:20
  • 2
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog hmm that article says "Microsoft has commissioned five new fonts, one of which will replace Calibri as the default font to be used in Windows, Office and more" and "Calibri went on to be Microsoft's default font everywhere", indicating it's not just for office. May 5 at 17:21
  • 2
    Also, what about users who choose to run older builds of Windows 10, such as the LTSC branch or simply an older release build? I'm still running 1909 on my laptop (and have the Education edition so it's still supported). May 5 at 17:22
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Sorry - I misread the word "article" as meaning the OP here at meta.
    – Kit
    May 5 at 17:59
  • 2
    I'm using Windows 7. May 5 at 19:17
  • 1
    Arn't system fonts set... system wide? So if windows 10 v21Hx sets the new font as a default, everything will switch with it. And while unsupported, other OSes may have their own font choices, not that explicit haiku support is a given
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 6 at 0:14
4

It seems to not be in effect for https://stackexchange.com . Will it be, or is this only for specific sites?

6
4

Fonts are one of those things that... I struggle to care about. So many other people care about them A LOT, just feels like there's enough care to go around without me.

But I do care about code readability, and damn... On Windows 10, this is a HUGE improvement in readability for code blocks.

Don't get me wrong, Consolas was pretty nice... A decade ago. Shucks, I remember tuning my LCD monitor to get that sweet subpixel antialiasing dialed in juuuuust right. But... That was a long time ago. Screen resolution has gotten better. And so have fonts. This Cascadia deal is a nice step up!

2
  • 2
    I don't agree with Cascadia point. It's much bolder than Consolas and all non-code fonts on the page. It feels like from entirely different universe, it just doesn't fit. Especially when code is not syntax highlighted (for example in <textarea> when editing)
    – jakub.g
    May 13 at 20:32
  • 3
    See, I don't mind the weight. For a good chunk of SO's life, the fonts used were heavier across the board - several past redesigns had the net effect of lightening them. That... Might actually be nice in terms of eye strain for long bits of prose; it annoyed me at the time, but I've gotten used to it. That said, I don't see the value for code; if I'm looking for an issue in someone's snippet, the LAST thing I want to do is quickly skim past it!
    – Shog9
    May 13 at 23:19
4

Chrome on Mac seems wider now than the previous typography. The most noticeable change I am experiencing is the longer time it takes to read the text. enter image description here

I will give it some time if that would still be the case later on.

2
  • Agreed - the rounded font is far slower to read. Easy on the eye, maybe - but it's for UIs, not walls of text.
    – Ron
    May 17 at 10:30
  • 3
    Update: After 3 days of observation, I still have the same comment. It still takes longer time to read the text. May 17 at 14:36
4

Would you consider removing -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased to make the text more readable?

1
4

I didn't find any information on whether these changes are applied with A/B testing to validate them or not. Are they?

(Please, don't tell me there is no A/B testing involved, and this random change went live without any knowledge of the change to website quality whatsover. What if the readability went down 50% for several million users, and just by total extra time spent reading answers you killed a small family, and keep killing another small family every day this change is still in production? I'd hate to be this person.)

1
  • 6
    Yeah, this is an A/B test. We are all in the B group; you can log out any time you like, but you can never leave. Some browse to remember, some browse to forget. May 17 at 7:40
4

Fonts are too light on Safari 14.1 on macOS

So lots of chatter here, but will say this as a macOS Big Sur (11.3.1) user, the font weight is overall way too light in Safari.

A simple comparison between how SuperUser renders in Safari 14.1 versus Firefox 88.0.1 shows the difference clearly on my side. Right side of this screenshot is Firefox and the left side is Safari.

I don’t have these issues on any other websites; only Stack Exchange sites since the change was made.

enter image description here


UPDATE 2021-05-17

So was this tweaked or fixed? Or am I losing my mind? Looking at the site today (Monday, May 17th) it seems like all is even and the same on Safari and Firefox:

enter image description here

4

The bottom part of 'g' is partially visible in the home page of Mozilla Firefox browser, when the post contains one of the watched tag ("featured" is my watched tag) and the modified content is displayed in the next line.

There is another post with "featured" tag, but the modified content is displayed in the same line, but there is no partial display issue.

Screenshots for reference:

Firefox

Configuration Version
Operating System Windows 10
Browser Mozilla Firefox 88.0.1 (64-bit)
Zoom 100%
1
3

Some headers and paragraphs in the Code of Conduct are still in Roboto:

enter image description here

The bottom paragraph is in the system font, as expected.

2
  • 1
    This is actually a typeface we use in branded pages like the code of conduct. We could argue the CoC doesn't need the branded font, but for now, this is status-bydesign
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 10 at 16:50
  • @KonradRudolph Doesn't appear to be monospace May 10 at 18:41
3

Not that I care deeply, but your post said that Christianity.SE wasn't changing typefaces, but we just did!

The "Top Questions" header switched to sans, thinking a font at that size wouldn't be a problem for screen readers. I think the comments changed on meta. Something feels different there. Blurb on the right side looks better imo.

If that's the way it's going to be, I've got no gripes with it. I thought it was interesting or unexpected that the was a change. But I guess the if the blurb had been "sites that have custom typefaces will now have a mishmash of sans and serif fonts" I would have been apt to voice my displeasure.

The only thing I really don't like is "Top Questions" being sans right underneath the very serif'ed logo.

Our site now looks like one of those half-hearted Stack Exchange beta sites from 10 years ago.

7
  • 1
    While I see some of the site in system fonts (such as user profiles), the main Q&A content is still in your font, as far as I can tell. Can you be more specific about what you're coming across?
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10 at 18:48
  • @Catija I noted some things May 10 at 18:58
  • The "Top Questions" thing (as far as I'm aware) has always been sans, even on sites with serif stacks. I remember thinking it was odd at the outset. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean it was the case for y'all, too... just I remember it being mentioned as something odd when we did this a couple years ago.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10 at 19:00
  • @catija ok chalk it up to the Mandela Effect then. I think many folks would prefer to be serif-free (or at the very least 100% consistent), but have some sort of one-box for special quotes (i.e. Biblical quotes), we've had that request for quite a while I thought it was getting into a serious review last year, but hadn't heard anything lately. May 10 at 19:02
  • Yeah, you're not the only site that'd like a special quote style for particular things - I think most of the religion sites would like that, too. :) I'm not enough of an expert in CommonMark to know whether it's possible to have two different quote formats like that, unfortunately.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10 at 19:03
  • Any idea you guys declined this btw? I missed that back in February. May 10 at 19:04
  • I can double check on that - in general, we're really short on time to support features that only impact a single site (or very small number of sites), so that's likely why it was declined instead of deferred. We have a really small dev team and I'm not sure how much work would have to be done to allow that feature. I absolutely see the value in time savings for y'all, I just don't think we have the bandwidth to build it, unfortunately.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10 at 19:10
3


The https://stackexchange.com site's header and site switcher still contains the Arial font only, but the remaining part of the page contains the Segoe UI font on Windows OS.

Screenshots for reference:

stackexchange.com header:

SE Header

stackexchange.com site switcher:

SE site switcher

2
  • 4
    This is a design nightmare. The benefits clearly don't outweigh the negatives. You can't just go wading into a very mature design of an even more mature SaaS app and think you can reset a few main fonts and not have the design suffer. Obviously not thought all the way through.
    – ruffin
    May 12 at 17:32
  • @AaronShekey Seems the issue has been fixed, please validate and change the tag to status-completed
    – Arulkumar
    May 18 at 6:52
3

Why not using a font specifically built for readbility, such as Lexend for all platforms? https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Lexend

Sample of Lexend

4
  • 2
    Presumably because requiring that a browser install a new font to properly render the page makes the page slower to load.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 17 at 15:50
  • 2
    @Catija Either that, or it displays some placeholder font for a few seconds while the actual font loads. I regularly use a website that does that and it ain't pretty.
    – F1Krazy
    May 17 at 15:55
  • 1
    @F1Krazy But that would happen only once and then hopefully the browser is caching the font, wouldn't it?
    – Trilarion
    May 17 at 19:05
  • This would happen once. People visit SO thousands of times a day. Cache works.
    – JCKödel
    May 18 at 16:03
2

I believe this change may have broken responsiveness on English Language & Usage when someone edits a post.

I'm not entirely sure, because I don't edit on EL&U as often as I do on ELL, but I have edited posts on EL&U on my phone before and I don't remember it being such a chore. The site is responsive when I'm just reading, so it's I didn't accidentally switch responsiveness off (the bottom of the page still has links to switch to "Mobile" and to "Disable responsiveness").

This happens on my iPhone in both Safari and the DuckDuckGo browser. It happens on my Mac in both Firefox and Safari. Also in Firefox on Windows. I don't remember it happening prior to the font change (I had edited several posts on EL&U on May 7th).

Editing an answer on EL&U, which I believe has a customized design:

Screenshot of editing an answer on EL&U, which displays poorly in a narrow window

Editing an answer on ELL, which is using the same sans-serif font as the rest of the network:

Screenshot of editing an answer on ELL, which displays correctly in a narrow window

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If consistency were the absolute goal, we’d ship our own custom font. I would love to be able to truly express our brand through a typeface, but that means users would have to download custom fonts and wait for them to display. We’d also have to cover international character sets. Displaying custom fonts is getting more realistic every day at our scale, so we may revisit that choice at some point, and come back to a more consistent experience. System fonts let us modernize in the meantime without too many drawbacks.

Not quite about the current situation but - how bad does using custom fonts look in terms of performance and what's the future changes that make it more realistic?

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    I think of our front end as a budget. Right now, much of our CSS could be deleted and replaced by the fixed-size Stacks library. Much of our JS could be consolidated with far less duplication. It will require sustained effort and we’re staffing a front-end team with Stacks at the center. I hope someday we can budget for a single effective, legible, variable weight typeface that doesn’t trash performance. I think the web will evolve while we pay down technical debt. The biggest hurdle is most the tricks to make web fonts performant tend to break down at our scale.
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 18 at 3:56
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    @AaronShekey, "we can budget for a single effective, legible, variable weight typeface" - you forgot the most important feature of font - it has to be readable.
    – Sinatr
    May 19 at 8:09
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    Legible means readable fwiw.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 19 at 8:36
  • @JourneymanGeek and this one isn't, at certain resolutions.
    – Kevin B
    May 19 at 15:15
  • Well yes, but I'm asking about the future - since being able to use a webfont means a consistent look across OSes. Right now? Yeah, there's a lot covering that.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 19 at 15:27
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The font in the dropdown list of StackExchange.com - Top Users still contains the "Tahoma" font. All other places in the page contains the "Segoe UI" font.

Screenshot for reference:

enter image description here

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Do we have to force refresh/flush cache Stack Overflow websites for it to re-cache the new fonts or not?

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    Our cache on the CSS side isn't too aggressive, so I don't think you'll need to do anything fancy to see the changes when they're live.
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 7 at 14:20
  • Ok, this is good to know then.
    – SirStopIt
    May 7 at 14:43
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I got a notification e-mail about a comment, viewed in Thunderbird on Ubuntu:

enter image description here

This looks different from the same notification on the website, viewed in Firefox on Ubuntu:

enter image description here

Thunderbird uses Gecko to render (same as Firefox). Are there any plans to make the fonts consistent?

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    Now that I think about it the e-mail was sent yesterday night already, it should have been after the change (e-mail time is 19:05Z) but possibly the e-mail handler was still being updated. If the next notification I get is in the Ubuntu font in Thunderbird then I'll delete this answer.
    – Marijn
    May 11 at 7:42
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    I got another notification today with the old font where both the new comment and the e-mail were definitely posted/sent after the font change, so this inconsistency is actually present.
    – Marijn
    May 12 at 8:25
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Linux user here. I'm happy enough with the Ubuntu font family that I haven't had any real issues with its appearance on any of my machines.

I'd rather not use or leverage Arial since the fallbacks can be horrible depending on how my system renders them (Pop!_OS).

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Just wanted to pop in, and unlike all the endless people complaining about the changes, wanted to mention I looked around for this post to figure out why everything looks so much better now. I especially love the use of Cascadia Mono for code on Windows, it's fantastic!

Sorry, would have posted this as a comment, but I can't due to lack of reputation since I don't ever post otherwise.

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    How much SE paid you to post this answer? ;-) May 13 at 13:17
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    I appreciate it, @CaiB. Our intent is always to improve things for our users, and if we can look to the future while doing it, that's a bonus. Welcome to MSE 👋
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 13 at 14:52
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard Both your checks are in the mail 😛
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    May 13 at 14:52
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    Interesting how quickly this one got a response, compared to people who are having issues with the new fonts. 😉
    – Kevin B
    May 13 at 15:08
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard Sadly nothing yet >_< - However the message was in earnest. I love Cascadia Mono for code, and switched all my editors to use it a while back. Seeing it on SE was a pleasant surprise!
    – CaiB
    May 14 at 8:27
  • @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard LOL!
    – user59748
    May 14 at 9:45
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I'm not completely sure if it hasn't come up anywhere else, but to me the bold rendered text elements are too strong. They are kind of jumping into my face and trying to constantly draw attention to them. I would prefer them with a lower weight/strength. Not sure if this has changed though or if I just now realize it. Is there a way that I could fix this for me (Windows 10)? If so how?

enter image description here

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  • It seems super bold compared to the much skinnier text, and that looks leaner than on windows for me. Saying what OS might be useful
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 17 at 6:34
  • @JourneymanGeek Added OS info. I'm also worried a bit about consistency, but mostly I wonder if it always was like this?
    – Trilarion
    May 17 at 6:52
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    Oh, from what's being talked about, there's going to be inconsistancy - since they're going for OS defaults. Hence the need to mention the OS
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 17 at 6:59
  • i.stack.imgur.com/bAE7B.png that's what it looks like for me
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 17 at 7:02
  • Wait, I'm also on windows 10... why does it look different?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 17 at 7:20
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    @JourneymanGeek I have no idea. Is there maybe more information that I should provide?
    – Trilarion
    May 17 at 7:30
  • 1
    Now I'm slightly more confused than you are
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 17 at 7:33
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