sIFR - Saving Chinese Web Typography
Web typography was never an easy thing for Westerners. Only as small core set of some 6-7 fonts were installed on users computers, and graphical designers - to whom typography is at the core of their art - quickly got bored with all those Georgia or Verdana websites. Alternatives either never reached cross-browser compatibility (font embedding), or broke all known rules of good usability and standards-compliant design (text-as-images, bulky Flash files).
For the Chinese designer, it's even worse. A single font, SimHei, is the only which is both universally installed across computers and which is readable at smaller pixel sizes. Strangly, SimHei is actually a serif, but displays as a "black font" (or sans) at smaller pixel sizes. Readable, however, does not mean beautiful, and looking at the SimHei-dominated Chinese web it's hard to find evidence of the beauty and subtlety of the Chinese language.
It is perhaps for this reason, that satanic techniques like full-page flash files and text presented as sliced jpegs dominates the Chinese web. When I and Li Xin taught web design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, we were overwhelmed by the arguments of disappointed students who could not see why proper Web Design would cut their hands off thusly.
sIFR was invented by Western designers for Western purposes, but it's application to Chinese design is far more radical. Western designers will be able to make their websites validate and look a little bit better. For Chinese designers, it will mean the difference between Web Hell and Web Heaven. And the end of excuses to design non-valid pages.