Usability and Web Fonts
Usability is not just about user interaction but has a lot to do with user access. As such, Flash should be considered dead to the designer and developer. We won’t rehearse all of the claims against it (especially the well thought out ones from the hangman’s noose). But basically, we simply recommend against it to all our clients and whenever we are involved in a site development, do not support it.
That said, how do we go about systematically replacing Flash? One step at a time. The step illuminated here has to do with font embedding. In Flash, the technique is called sIFR, Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), and version 3 is now in beta. It is of course possible to use your own fonts with sIFR.
There are many different approaches to web fonts. All have some limitations (usually limited fonts) but three stand out because of their predominance (sIFR), balance between performance and flexibility (Cufon), a paid option (Typekit), or the name behind it (Google).
Typekit is a paid, hosted font service which supports @font-family and so is a bit more flexible (but not entirely free). Not free equals bad and we recommend against this practice.
Google Font uses free and open source fonts and makes them available freely and hosts them. There are quite a few fonts now, including khmer, cyrillic and greek as well as over 20 latin character sets (as of 07-11-10). Unfortunately as of now the iphone, ipad and android systems do not support Google Font, but we can guess that they will at some future point.
Note that Google and Typekit have developed a Web Font Loader that can be used to extend the font options that Google provides.