For my Windows testing, I am using XP, since that is what I have, and I am testing with Firefox and IE. I noticed that the Times, Georgia and Utopia fonts all look pretty bad in Firefox. I've noticed that on Digg (yes it still exists) they load a nice-looking font after the page loads, so there is an ugly font that switches to a nice font. On FB and Reddit the font remains ugly.

  • Utopia is not installed on Windows XP by default. If you are unlucky enough to have acquired Helvetica on your XP machine, then this looks even worse on XP (with the default font smoothing).
    – MrWhite
    Mar 24 '13 at 20:00

The fonts on various websites should offer the same experience than any other operating systems, of course they are never pixel perfect since the rendering engines vary.

But with this said it shouldn't be as bad as you say it is and I imagine that something else is causing font problems on your screen, one thing it could be comes to mind and that is early versions of XP by default does not ship with anti-aliased enabled on their fonts (ClearType), I recommend you read how to enable ClearType Fonts in XP.

Also in regards of Digg working fine, this is most likely because they use a font called 'Source Sans Pro' which is a TypeKit Font and it's likely processing without the need of ClearType Fonts, since I believe the format is not TrueType.

  • Although if you are testing on Windows XP then you are better off leaving everything as default - which means "Standard" font smoothing.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 24 '13 at 19:55
  • Most XP users will have it enabled due to the sales of LCD's and laptops. Text is pretty much unreadable at small sizes without, in fact must RTFM copies of windows xp (Dell, HP, Advert etc) had it enabled since well people would complain. I would consider this out of scope of testing purposes... You simply can't cater for people in all seneranios. Otherwise the only option is to use custom fonts but that can cause compatibility issues as well. Mar 24 '13 at 20:07
  • but with that said..... I just checked my VM and it doesn't have it installed and the fonts look how I expect them, of course they are not amazing compared to crisp fonts in Vista upwards and this is because ClearType is enabled.. Personally I'm not agreeing whit W3d to leave it off... since its not that bad, Mar 24 '13 at 20:12
  • @bybe Thanks. I enabled it and the fonts look much better. But it was disabled by default. Probably for testing I will switch it off. Some fonts look OK without Cleartype, and some like Georgia look terrible.
    – Funnelcake
    Mar 24 '13 at 20:23

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