Better Justification for the Web
2020-12-29, 11:00–11:40, r3s - Monheim/Rhein
Language: English

The quality of justified text in the web browser in 2020 is still way behind the quality of justified text set in professional dtp software. Why is that? In my talk I explore the reasons from a designer’s perspective. Furthermore I present different approaches for improving the quality of justified text on the web by using advanced line-breaking algorithms and variable fonts.


The quality of justified text in the web browser is way behind the quality of justified text set in professional dtp software. There are several reasons for this. Some are systematic (manual line-breaking is impossible in a fluid and responsive environment), some are technical limitations: 1) hyphenation has been a problem for a very long time. 2) There is currently no implementation of advanced line breaking algorithms like the knuth-plass-algorithm in any of the browsers. Why is that? In my master thesis I explored several ways to improve justified text on the web. I achieved significant improvement by applying a javascript-implementation of the knuth-plass-algorithm (by Bram Stein) and by implementing additional parameters such as variable fonts and opentype ligatures. With my short presentation I want to raise awareness for the ongoing problems with justification on the web and demand action from the browser makers.

See also: Demo

After earning a bachelor’s degree in communication design from the University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg, Johannes Ammon earned his master’s degree at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz. Besides Finaltype he is currently working as a freelance communication designer and web developer. For Johannes, type design is the nerdiest design discipline, in the best possible way