Wacky Fonts (#allFONTSmatter)

While working with Tableau Public the biggest drawback for me is all about fonts.

For the last few weeks I’ve noticed several #makeovermonday vizzes that look great when I see the pictures posted by authors. However when I check the live version on Tableau Public, the font is abruptly replaced by some “standard” OS stock font and authors will never notice that.

They will never notice because the computer they are using to build the viz contains the carefully selected font so they are capable of rendering the viz correctly on both Desktop or Public (via browser).

But when authors pick a nice non-stock font (such as Avenir) the consequence is that the viz will not work great for most of the people that don’t have the font installed on their computers. Tableau Public will end up replacing it with *argh* stock Times New Roman or Georgia.

Some folks that are aware of this “undocumented feature” either give up on using their selected font (and end up adopting most of the times the nice Tableau font) or really are forced to create images out of their texts and using these images instead of real text on the viz.

Typography is a key element for communication. Sometimes the most important element of a data visualization, even more than the data itself. The selection of a font is key to make data blend with text in a seamless way. The importance of a good typography choice is very well described in Benjamin Bannister post about how a selection of fonts, sizes, positioning could have avoided the mess on this year Oscars.

So Tableau Public, please join my personal movement for #allFONTSmatter and allow authors to freely select their font and ensure it will render to any user and at any device.

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