When selecting type to use on a device, function should be your guide. In general, the more stylized a font is, the more space it occupies. Because the maximum screen area available on a Pocket PCis 240 pixels by 263 pixels (see Figure 4.1), you must balance the need for expression versus the need for functionality. When dealing with the practical matter of having legible text, style should be of secondary importance.
Figure 4.1. Comparison of typical Pocket PC screen area with traditional screen formats.
Most fonts are not designed to work at the size that is necessary for a device. At smaller sizes, text tends to blur (anti-alias), making it difficult to differentiate letterforms (see Figure 4.2). Anti-aliasing attempts to smooth the inherently jagged nature of the screen by introducing shades of gray. Not only does this take up more screen space, but it also lessens legibility by reducing contrast. A pixel font remains aliased, offering greater space economy and legibility (see Figure 4.3).
Figure 4.2. The effects of anti-aliasing.
Figure 4.3. Notice the difference in clarity.
You can use the device font option within Flash MX to incorporate aliased fonts in your applications. However, because you cannot be assured of which font will be used, you are gambling with variable factors (type style, size, and so on) and compromising your ability to design an application that works, and looks, as good as it should.