in General

sIFR

I was recently introduced to sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement). To sum it up, you can create beautiful, aliased version of any font on any web page, fairly easily. This works great when implemented correctly, as in, only do it for your header/Title text.

You might have seen examples of it at some pretty large scale sites around, such as ABC News, Nike, and Aston Martin. As you can see, the headlines are aliased and smooth (mostly, you can play with Flash settings to make it to your liking) and there is no image whatsoever…you can even select/copy the text. I know this isn’t a new technology, but I haven’t seen it posted and though some here may find it useful. (I did, threw it on my own site to play with).

In related info, Usable Type wrote a nice article explaining some of the do’s and don’ts related to sIFR. And, a nice demo was put together by the folks at Macromedia (ahem, I mean Adobe). Also, be sure to visit Mike Davidson and say thanks for all his hard work.

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  1. Wow, that’s really cool. I remember reading about some sort of a font embed technology years back and wondered why it never caught on.

    We need to invent a technology that we can have named after us. That’s really cool how Inman got his last name in there.

    Pretty soon I bet someone will release a plugin for WordPress so we can have cool font headlines for every single post. That would rock. Or we could just change our font to Comic Sans. Mmmm…

  2. plug-in?…it’s so simple to install, all u need is to change a few lines of the template 😉 – Fonts Away! I’ll do it for a thousand dollars :-P…jk, …unless of course you would actually do it, in which case I am not JK.

  3. I used this basic concept a long time ago (before anyone gave it a buzz word like “sIFR”). For an example, check out this site that I developed around two years ago: http://www.douglassdist.com/

    Look at all the page titles. Check out all the main sections of the site. The site only ever loads one single flash file. Javascript is used to send the headline text to be displayed, along with the file name of an image to be animated in behind it. They render completely dynamically from javascript and flash in Futura font. And if you don’t have the flash plugin, it displays the text in HTML using CSS styles.

  4. Actually, correction: The Douglass Distributing site was actually developed in late 2001, and went live in mid-2002. The first recorded cache of the site appeared on the waybackmachine (archive.org) on September 26th, 2002. (link: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.douglassdist.com)

    So yeah. I guess that was closer to 4 years ago that I used that technique on a corporate site. Not 2.

    Oh well. I guess I should have jumped on the keyword bandwagon when I had the chance.

  5. Another thing that I forgot to mention is that all the page titles and background images of the Douglass Distributing site are actually managed by a database backend. The client can log in and change the page titles without ever having to know a lick of flash or HTML.

  6. I must admit, however… The final, matured sIFR solution is definitely more polished than the methods I used 4 years ago, and succeeds more in the areas of search engine and printer friendliness.