5 Remarkable Typeface Challenges in Designing Interfaces

18 February 2015

Sandiego: The outburst of new devices like watches, phones, fitness trackers and several other wearable gadgets which are enabled by Internet of things are providing interconnected user experiences. These days, even cars are getting more smarter and integrated displays which ties up into the app and mobile ecosystems. Till now, such devices were having a basic interface with very minimal sophistication. This was because of the smaller device size which was resulting in hardware and memory limitations.

But now, as the popularity of smartphone is increasing, the larger displays and powerful processors have triggered a spike in the demand for better design and highly polished graphics. It is not just about the design but there were some limitations which had put a barrier for the design efforts. The main barriers were small screens with less room and information intensive displays.

Below mentioned are the five typographic considerations that the designers must be aware of:

  1. Typeface quality: All these days the typeface quality on low-cost devices and lower-resolution displays has suffered severely because of the processor and memory limitations. Typographic hierarchy is nothing but the way we convey any important information to the intended customer. As the earlier displays were able to utilize only a small number of bitmap fonts, there was a leeway to create that visual hierarchy with the dynamic content.
  2. Engaging experience: The increasing demand for smartphones and also the significance of responsive web design have made the designers realize about how crucial the type selection is. This is not the only thing that influences usability. It’s just a way to preserve any kind of brand voice. With small wearable things like medical monitoring devices or fitness trackers which are connected to apps and uses on smartphones, typeface selection is the only way to connect the experiences.
  3. Selecting the right typeface: Just like the Clearview typeface in US and DIN typeface in Germany, there are several other typefaces and there’s been an extensive research on what makes the typeface easy to read and to understand. Because of certain limitations on memory and resolution, typeface selection for use in automotive instrument is highly constrained as it is for other wearable devices. It might be for good readability on a dashboard or for consistent branding, choosing the right typeface place a major role.
  4. Many languages, multiplying content: Restraints on character sets pose some significant issues beyond the brand continuity. The globalized markets for devices require more character sets and encodings; this avoids the need to manufacture separate versions to support every language. So now, the automobile electronics are amplifying this challenge and the infotainment systems are serving up navigation graphics, music information and also the apps like Facebook and Pandora.
  5. Landscape: There are some major limitations in the resources because of which designers are using some simpler or pre-existing fonts instead of using the appropriate fonts for the job. They are actually sacrificing visual hierarchy and the clarity by going with minimal style. Designers truncate strings instead of designing it for quick comprehension and readability. They are just giving up the integrity of brand as they are not able to preserve it.

If the designers keep these things in mind while trying to overcome the barriers, they can definitely design more usable interfaces and is really a considerable win for both users and the brands.

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