WordPress HTML editor font change

wordpress icon I’ve been a WordPress blogger for 5 years and I’m really frustrated by this change. I have experienced many changes here at WordPress.com and although some have been frustrating none were an actual barrier to me using the editor in both modes — this one is a barrier.  :(

I can read and quickly scan the font in the Visual editor with ease. Thankfully, it has not been changed but the Consolas font in the HTML editor is a completely different story.

The font stack use in the HTML editor is Consolas, Monaco, Monospace. If you computer does not have Consolas, then your browser will use Monaco. If it does not have that, then it will use Monospace. If it does not have that, the browser will use another font.

Consolas is a new Microsoft font.

Consolas is aimed for use in programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is specified. All characters have the same width, like old typewriters, making it a good choice for personal and business correspondence. The improved Windows font display allowed a design with proportions closer to normal text than traditional monospaced fonts like Courier. This allows for more comfortably reading of extended text on screen. OpenType features include hanging or lining numerals; slashed, dotted and normal zeros; and alternative shapes for a number of lowercase letters. The look of text can be tuned to personal taste by varying the number of bars and waves.

I’m visually challenged and I normally use the HTML editor a great deal of the time. The font change is so terrible that I am being forced into using the Visual editor. Therefore I posted into this WordPress.org thread titled Return the html editor back to a sans font instead of the new Consolas font, begging that the font change to Consolas in the HTML editor in the WordPress 3.2 version be reversed.

I also submitted the following for consideration:

I am looking towards the future as well. I would like to see  inclusion for WordPress.com users and parity with WordPress.ORG users when it comes to BETA testing new WordPress versions in developmental stages.

When the 2.5 upgrade was in development and being BETA tested by WordPress.ORG bloggers there was a demo site set up that we WordPress.COM bloggers could use and post feedback to. Is it possible that Staff and the our WordPress.com developers would consider doing the same for WordPress.com bloggers prior to upgrades in the future?

I’m suggesting this because most WordPress.com users are not to my knowledge conversant in coding and geek speak. In fact WordPress.com has always emphasized that we do not need to be conversant in code we can just blog. WordPress.org also emphasizes one click installs and implies one does not need to be code conversant to run a WordPress.ORG install. I think it’s unlikely that most WordPress.com users would be inclined to set up and run a WordPress.ORG install site simply for BETA testing purposes of WordPress version upgrades in development.

If WordPress.com users were provided with a demo site they can “test drive” what’s proposed and provide feedback from their non-coder non-geek  speaking POV. I think that would be valuable feedback that would create party between the different types of users. Then the claim that the core WordPress upgrades are built on the feedback of millions of WordPress users will have more integrity, because at present the feedback from millions of WordPress.com users is not being facilitated.

Thank you, in advance, for reading my submission.

P.S. If this is not the correct venue for submitting my BETA testing parity for WordPress.com users suggestion please inform me where the correct place to post this is and I will post it there.

Discussion

I would like to discuss two related  issues with my readers in this post.

1.   I’m wondering what my readers think of this font change in the HTML editor.  Do you find the Consolas font to be more or less “readable” than  the previous font?

2.   Do you support my parity between WordPress.com and WordPress.org users suggestion?  Specifically, I asked for a BETA testing demo site to be set up  so that millions of WordPress.com users can experiment with new WordPress versions in development and provide their feedback to WordPress developers along with WordPress.org users?

3.   If such a demo site were made available to you as a WordPress.com user then would you use it and provide your feedback to WordPress developers?

UPDATE: If any of my readers would care to cast a vote, there is a poll on the change to the font in the HTML editor at the top of the right hand sidebar on WordPress Tips.

Please vote!
HTML editor font: more user-friendly and readable before or now? …

54 thoughts on “WordPress HTML editor font change

  1. I’ve completely changed my mind about this – the HTML font, I mean. I hate it! Is there any evidence at all that they might change it back or to something more readable yet?

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    • As WordPress.com is on continual roll-out that means we wordpress.com bloggers are BETA testers. We have no offical means of providing feedback like the wordpress.org BETA testers do. I was seeking parity between the two diffeent kinds of WordPress users regading offical geedback channles and I guess that did not go over well with TPTB. Oh well. ..

  3. TiTi, apropos the post where your comment hasn’t appeared, it seems that there are only nine comments there. It seems precious few comments for such a contraversial topic. Could they have pulled your comment and some other people’s?

  4. It’s true that most programmers prefer monospace fonts. But if you check you’ll see that there’s only one main argument in favor of this: correct vertical alignment of stacks of similar code lines (makes it easier to see if you’re missing a character somewhere or if a line exceeds a possibly required maximum number of characters).

    Now stacks of code lines is hardly ever the case in the HTML editor of the average blogger (as others and I have pointed out, the content of the HTML editor is usually text, real text, with some code). So monospace would be a reasonable choice for the CSS editor only, not the HTML editor (for the reason OTL above explained) – much less the comment editor. When you’re talking about normal text instead of pure code, the only merit of a monospace font is that it makes it easier to see if you’ve typed the right number of characters in a word like “lillies”: but character combinations such as this are too rare to be a decisive factor.

    So of course I don’t like the new font and I don’t agree with the change. But I don’t really mind that much, first because I believe that in a free service you can’t have everything the way you would prefer, second because I don’t write my posts in the HTML editor (don’t get me wrong, I never use the visual editor!): I compose them in a text editor, adding all the HTML I need, then copy-paste the end result into the HTML editor and only make minor adjustments and additions there.

    Like MMADfan, what I found more annoying than the change is the attitude: staff reply was a dry “it’s here to stay”, a false “it’s based on the feedback of millions” (a blatant lie, blown to pieces by the link designsimply subsequently posted), and an unbelievable request that wp.COM users don’t post in the wp.COM forum about this. When another user complained that the new font of the comment reply field isn’t dark enough, the same staff member said he’ll pass this on and see if they can improve things. What was so special about Consolas that made a similar response out of the question?

    TT, thanks for directing our friends to my little poll. What are the results telling us? That the votes are 4 to 1 against? No: the poll has been sitting there for 10 days, I get more than 1000 hits per day, and only have 23 votes so far (2 of them being my girlfriend’s and mine, mind you). So I’m afraid the results are telling us that most users simply don’t care, I guess because they simply don’t use the HTML editor.

    • Hello there,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m resigned to the fact that we are stuck with Consolas and have been since we received macmanx’s reply. I’m now considering using a text editor as well to write my posts. I sincerely think it would be a good idea for wordpress.com users to have a demo site wo we could be part of the BETA testing of upcoming WordPress versions. If that ever happens I will participate and if it doesn’t — oh well.

    • I don’t know the answers to your questions. :( I beleive TPTB are referring to wordpress.org users and not to wordpress.com users as we cannot BETA test new versions and provide feedback.

  5. The HTML editor font is so awful that I, too, have had to switch to using the Visual editor. This is the height of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” lunacy. Of course, now that the HTML editor IS “broke,” I hope they will fix it…

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  8. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I don’t like that they’ve changed it without (as usual) not consulting us wordpress.com users and I’m completely with you on the parity, TT. I’d love the opportunity to see what changes were being considered, but I’m not entirely sure how helpful I’d be able to be to the process as with the medicine I’m on right now my brain’s not always ‘up to the challenge’ so to speak.

    As for the font in the HTML editor itself… I also have visual problems, not just with my eyesight but with character recognition as I’ve a touch of dyslexia and I easily confuse some letters – and numbers – with other ones, but I’m not having a problem with the new font because it’s very familiar to me as one that was used in primary schools when I was a child. So I’m wondering if some of it might be cultural? Does anyone else from the UK feel as I do? I know in the ‘States (and possibly Canada?) the script taught in schools is much more cursive than it is (or was) here.

    With Serif fonts as opposed to Sans Serif ones, I find I can distinguish individual letters more clearly. However, what does bother me is the way the two different fonts change from one to the other between the visual and the HTML editors. That strikes me as quite stupid. I can’t adjust that quickly to the differences as my brain processes more slowly. Maybe these changes are just for younger people than me? I do feel that they’re forgetting the range of their users.

    And the fact that everything is (currently) tested only by wp.ORG users is so annoying – there are so many of us wp.COM ones, it’s just completely unfair!

    • As I’ve said both over in the wordpress.com forums and in the wordpress.ORG thread on the subject, I find the font really ugly and unreadable.

      I started using computers in the late 70s (I was a wee bairn at the time! ;-)), and back then, I might have found that a really good font on the old green-and-black CRT screens, but that was before advances in screen technology, rendering tech, printing, etc., made better, more readable fonts possible. Consolas looks like an OCR font we used in the 80s at one of my unis so that the “cutting edge” computers of the day could read the letters. Since I read words and sentences and am not a computer (from a couple decades ago!), the Consolas font is unreadable to me beyond a few words at a time.

      The Consolas is not fit for purpose. The html editor isn’t meant for editing long strings of computer code that is intended for a computer to decipher in the end; it is meant for composing and/or editing text for human consumption, text that contains mark-up language as a sort of “aside” to the computer to tell it how to format the text (and other components of the blog post) for the human reader. (Perhaps it might be a good font to use for headers to give a website and old-fashioned old-tech appearance?)

      I, too, have a visual impairment, but it isn’t even the size or darkness of the font that is at issue. I am certain that even if I had perfect vision in both eyes, I would find this font impossible to compose in and downright ugly.

      Beyond whether Consolas is fit for the purpose it’s been set to or not, there’s the question of how the decision to change the html editor’s font was made in the first place. We were told by a staff member that millions of users had requested the change. (I found that statement to be beyond even ordinary hyperbole when I read it!) But then upon taking a look at the thread, I was taken aback despite my scepticism. The thread concerning the change was shortvery short — had only a few people making a comment about it, and even more amusing (in a sort of shake-your-head-in-disbelief kind of amusing way), the Priority was marked “low” and the Severity was marked “minor.” Okay, so a few people who like the look of a thirty-to-forty year old OCR-type “console” font make a suggestion for something that is of low priority and minor severity, and . . . WordPress jumps on it? My god, I wish I had that kind of mojo to implement my little whims and desires!

      And then to heighten my sense of scepticism about the entire process, such as it was, it now appears that timethief’s posts to the WordPress.ORG ideas thread has been filtered out — what? Was her argument too persuasive that they don’t want others to read it? Fortunately, I subscribed to the thread. I saw her posts in my email. They weren’t out-of-line at all. Very to-the-point, but not rude, profane, or insulting.

      Well, I’ve gone on too long here — but at least I got a bit of “rant” out of my system! It’s a quixotic battle — I will be surprised if any changes are made — but I did put in my vote over on the WordPress.org thread anyway!

      • SIGH … My comment is still not appearing in the WordPress.org thread when I am logged out. :( I’m not sure why that is. I have copied and pasted it into this post and it does not contain any offensive language or content that IMO would lead to it being marked as spam.

  9. Where to download Consolas, Monaco? I have an old computer without these so it displays in ugly typerwriter font. :(

  10. While I agree that the previous font was better, I don’t care that much. I typically write outside the editor anyway, and then paste the content in. The new Consolas font does look like Courier. Personally, I only use Courier for code comments in documentation as a way of calling out code snippets that users can copy and paste. Why anyone would use it for anything else is beyond me. It’s ugly, and I certainly don’t enjoy reading it.

  11. I tested the Consolas font in Word 2010 and “Yike!” I can’t imagine using that typeface for anything. I’ve done coding in the past; more specifically HTML and CSS. I’ll take Courrier or Monospace over Consolas, anytime.

    Personally, I prefer Arial Rounded Bold or Arrus Black due to these being both heavy and so much more readable. Being visually impaired, this is very important as it helps in both reading and writing.

    I notice some comments about Consolas being used when making comments. This not happening; as I may have told the Firefox 4 browser to use MY font choices. The font I’m using is quite readable and it’s not Consolas.

  12. 1. I agree it’s a bit less readable, though I wouldn’t say it’s posing me a problem. But I generally use the visual editor, so I haven’t actually looked at it much.

    2. Yes. Current situation gives the impression that WordPress isn’t interested in a big chunk of its users – I’m sure this isn’t the case, but it’s not good to give people that idea.

    3. Probably, though it would depend on how busy I was elsewhere – winter season I barely had time to blog, let alone keep up all the other activities associated with it.

  13. Hiya Timethief!

    First off to you and everyone reading and posting – I have to apologize for my ignorance….but I don’t see any changes. Would it be because I have a MAC? Everyone’s comments (including those on my site) look exactly the same.

    I agree with you – those who are on wordpress.ORG should be beta testers for this type of thing.

    If this shows up on my site – can you point me in the right direction?

    Thanks! Ann

    • Try editing a comment on your own blog and see what font you see. Or edit a post without changing anything and view which font you see in the HTML editor.

      • Ouch! I see what you mean! It’s the same font used when I was in the Marines (a hundred years ago) and had to type messages (with a TYPEWRITER) that were sent over the “message wire”! We’ve come a long way – and that font is a dinosaur!

        Thanks for showing me where I could see it…I’ve never edited a comment – but the day is young!

        • That’s the one alright – everything old is new again I guess. This is Microsoft’s new font – ha! On my blogs it’s very black as if it’s in bold lettering. The spacing between letters is odd and it’s so hard to read. There is no flow – yuck!

  14. Thanks timethief for pursuing this issue… I’m a non-geek regular blogger – ie, a customer of WP – and am angry not to have been consulted about this sudden change in the HTML editor to Consolas, a typeface that is impractical in this specific context of copy-editing. Here’s an extract from my post in the Ideas forum:

    Consolas in the HTML editor is a blunder of the first order for those of us who work with words for a living. It turns sub-editing into an obstacle course because it simply cannot be read at a glance.

    Consolas doesn’t deserve to be called a typeface. It is a scribbler’s style, because it breaks all the fundamental rules of readability with its uniform character width and bizarre letter forms – the eye can neither scan it horizontally nor skim vertically. It clearly doesn’t lend itself to kerning, which is a fundamental technique for helping letters to hang together in familiar word forms. Instead, it demands to be read letter by letter, as if we are children running our fingers along the line.

    Adults do not read that way. We read by recognising whole word-forms, phrases and sentences. This scribble of a typeface disregards the intuitive way the eye absorbs sense from a page of well line-spaced type.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your submission with me and my readers. I’m not convinced we can cause any change to happen. I am convinced that creating a way for WordPress.com users to have an opportunty to BETA test and provide valuable feedback is a good idea.

  15. Apple Mail allows me to choose the font I wish to use as my default font. I have had it set to Consolas for a while now – so you can guess that I like the font.

    However, I have it set to point size 14, which is a lot bigger than the default size in the back end of WP.

    I think the font in the Admin side of WP now is too small.

    I am using a Mac, and I know that PCs and Macs do not see all fonts equally or in the same way.

    However, one thing I have noticed is that many fonts that originate from Typekit and also from Google, have a slightly gritty or granular look about them.

    TT – I can’t see your comment on the .org thread. I left a comment and it showed up straight away.

    • I can only see my comment in the WordPress.org thread when I am logged in there. I cannot see it when I am logged out. :(
      I posted a second one stating that in hopes a Mod would locate and the first one too and make them visible.

        • No there is no “awaiting moderation” when I log in. I contacted a WordPress.com Staff member who told me it could be in the spma filter and that those spam filters are regulalry checked over there. Well, here it is a full day later and my comment has not been posted. What to do?

    • I think so too. What I’m distressed about now is that my comment on the wordpress.org thread does not appear when I am logged out. It’s only visible when I am logged in.

    • Good for you. I just noticed that Panos has a poll in the sidebar of his blog on this same topic ie. the Consolas font. I will now edit my post and include that information in it for those who may wish to cast a vote in his poll.

  16. Hi Timethief,

    I’m glad not to be the only one who dislikes this change and WordPress’s lack of consulting with its users before the change. I would really dislike having to blog elsewhere, having gotten used to this site, which I thought was superior and meant for serious writers. For some reason, young people think technical things need to change every few weeks or months. I am a great believer in “If it ain’the broke, don’t fix it!” Drives me crazy!

    I would like to have the sans font back. I agree with you wholeheartedly on all your points and suggestions, even though I do not understand some of the technical stuff. I just want to write and insert images. I do not like to wake up and find changes have been made without my knowledge; it makes me feel like a fool.

    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of us old geeks,
    Cyranette/Monnie

    • Thanks for your feedback on the Consolas font. Our software is being contumually upgraded and in most cases we aren’t even aware of it. When major changes like this happen without an announcement they can take us by surprise. Here at WordPress.com 1 month before the major upgrades are released to WordPress.org users we experience them. I hope there are plans to include WordPress.com users in the BETA testing in the future.

  17. Is this the same font that is now being used when you edit comments? It looks very child like somehow, I am not keen either. Even though I don’t use the html editor very much it does happen occasionally, when I can’t sort something out with the line breaks or the photos get muddled up, then I go in there and try and fathom out the mysteries.

    1. I don’t find the new font particularly easy to read either.

    2. Definitely I support your request for a demo site and for WP to listen to our POV on development.

    3. I would use it and give feedback. Absolutely.

    • Hi Joanna,

      Is this the same font that is now being used when you edit comments?

      Yes it is. Thanks you so much for answering my questions. It’s good to know you would also participate in BETA testing if it is facilitated. :)

  18. I for one do not like the new font, i would rather go back to the san’s font, i don’t know why they spring these thing’s on us.

    I also agree to your 3 point’s in your ” discussion ” part of the post. But will the power’s that be listen to the people.

    • Thanks so much for reading and sharing your feedback with me. If you feel strongly about this you can post to the same WordPress.org thread I posted to say so. If WordPress wishes to continue claiming the feedback of millions of bloggers is what gives rise to changes, then I think it’s high time for parity to be created between WordPress.org users and WordPress.com users when it comes to BETA testing.

      The current state of affairs is that WordPress.com user BETA testing and feedback is not being facilitated by TPTB. Once WordPress creates a means for the millions WordPress.com bloggers to access a demo site and become BETA testers along side with WordPress.org then they can make that claim with integrity. Until they do that I consider that phrase to be public relations speak ie. bafflegab.

  19. 1. Big change, it was a rude shock to me this morning. I think I hate it even more than you do. It also violates a cardinal rule of business: No Surprises. Reminds me of the Google fiasco several months ago when they changed their “plain white” landing page without warning.

    2. Yes, agree.

    3. Yes, would use.

    Many thanks for saying something that very much needed to to said. You have the rare gift of expressing outrage in a civil way.

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks so much for responding and your comment re:civility. Honesty is praiseworthy but using it as a weapon is not my thing. Ranting and swearing is not my thing and should not be anyone’s thing. Criticism can be constructive rather than destructive. I do not choose to be a negatively focused on problems. I choose to be focused on solutions.

      As for my own answers to the questions I posed I would be participate and provide feedback if we are provided with a demo site for BETA testing, and I’m happy to hear that you would participate too.

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