Any web developer who’s ever tried to introduce an old-school graphic designer to the ins and outs of web design will know how easy it is to make their brain melt and trickle out of their ears. One of the killers for a typical designer is the lack of control over fonts. Well, things are getting a lot better. Most browsers now support downloadable fonts in one form or another, and it looks like the next-but-one release of Firefox will get some very tasty new font rendering features in the form of support for ligatures, stylistic alternatives, tabulated numbers and more.
If you’ve got an interest in fonts on the web you really do owe it to yourself to take a look at this page to get an idea of where things are heading. Although this is experimental work in Firefox, there’s a good chance that similar features will make their way into Safari, Chrome and Opera, before (hopefully) getting ratified into a proper standard.
It will be a long time yet before designers can assume support for these features in the majority of web browsers that are actually in use, but at least the future looks a little brighter for font fans and designers alike.