Dear Fourtitude Staff.
As a vortex member, I’ve enjoyed reading VAG news and community perspectives for a little over fifteen years now. While I’ve been content in reading (and sometimes commenting on) automotive topics, I’d like to give back (at least in a small way).
As a senior graphic designer for a little over twenty years (27 in print media publishing), I have to say the intuitive nature of this news site (and VWVortex) contributed in maintaining my interest all these years. However, I must bring to your attention the technical and usability failings of this site as of late.
For some time now, the Fourtitude home page has presented a difficult read due to errors in CSS resources. While sourcing Typekit is an establish practice for designers like myself, web developers will quickly point out the pitfalls with dependancies on third party resources. As it stands, the Fourtitude site renders without the intended typographic support. The web font link is broken (404).
For some, this broken resource may not detract from the experience that much. This might go unnoticed if the user agent (browser) defaults to a sans-serif font such as Arial or Helvetica. While this might happen in the world of Mozilla, other user agents might default to a serif font, such as Times. The issue with this is specific to the Fourtitude site, mostly because the Fourtitude design sets white text over a dark background. In the world of visual communication and usability, this combination is a faux pas. Anyone who’s a Hackaday reader knows what I’m talking about. Creative expression aside (and usability still), the use of a serif font on a dark background is a cardinal sin. Serif fonts have very thin ascenders and descenders, this coupled with non-web typefaces (small x-height) hinders legibility dramatically — if not an outright impossibility.
Safari users see only a blur of text, whereas Firefox users may get by with a sans-serif default — unaware they’re not seeing the site design as it was originally intended.
If the original Fourtitude typeface is unknown or no longer available (as per the risk in using an outside resource), I would be willing to aid the selection of an appropriate web typeface for local use.
Please see the attached sample of what a Fourtitude article looks like on the home page.