Wikipedia is among the more conservatively designed top sites out there, so when they make a change we take notice. Or maybe just people like me. Fonts are fun.
If you haven’t yet seen, Wikimedia recently upped the font size across their sites, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikitravel. Given I’m logged in and use the Monobook skin, I only noticed when my last session timed out. It was quite the shock!
While the change doesn’t do much for those of us with computer-induced myopia who can read 8pt font just fine, the larger size will certainly make the site more accessible for more people. There’s also just something really pleasing about sans-serif fonts at that particular size; maybe it’s just me.
As for the typefaces specifically, it’s a mixed bag. They stuck with a sans-serif font for the body text which, as you can probably tell from reading my site here, I’m a fan of. Regardless of your preferences, non-retina displays simply lack the resolution to adequately draw fine serif font details at low point sizes.
Georgia on my mind
Which gets us to Georgia. Unfortunately, the headings are now all rendered in this cliché vestige of late 2000s design. Just as everyone (ab)uses Helvetica Neue Ultralight in inappropriate situations now (see my above comment on resolution and detail), so too did designers with Georgia before then. It was everywhere, and it wasn’t pretty.
Alas, with this font Wikipedia looks outdated already. It’s regrettable, though I suppose we can take a little comfort from the fact they’re not using it for the smaller body text.
As Siracusa would say, I give this one thumb up, one thumb down, and one thumb is indifferent. That’s a lot of thumbs.