Microsoft has a history of being notoriously slow to change.
Just to cite one example, the company’s venerable “Paint” application has been in the mix since the earliest days of Windows. Although it was relatively feature-poor and under-powered even back when it was introduced, the company never made any effort to improve on it.
They only recently gave it a face lift with the development of Paint 3D, which itself was relatively poorly received.
With that in mind, it’s big news when the company recently announced that they were changing the default Windows font. The new font, available for a sneak peak right now via the Windows 10 Insider Build #21376 is called Segoe UI Variable.
Naturally, given that it’s Microsoft, this is more of an incremental change, rather than a fundamental one. The company has, after all, been using a different font from the Segoe UI font family in all of their branding and marketing materials, and in the other applications they have developed. So, while it’s a change, it’s actually a rather smallish one. Nonetheless, for a company that has a history of reluctance on that front, even a smallish change is significant.
As to the reasons why, according to the Windows Insider build release notes:
“We are introducing Segoe UI Variable which includes an optical axis so that font outlines can scale seamlessly from small to larger display sizes. Segoe UI Variable is a refreshed take on the classic Segoe, now with improved legibility at small sizes, and much improved outlines at display sizes.”
And there you have it. The Segoe UI Variable font dynamically scales, and does so without seriously impacting font legibility.
While it’s certainly noteworthy, by itself, that wouldn’t be enough to rush out and grab the latest Windows Insider build to play around with. Naturally though, the latest build comes with a raft of enhancements and bug fixes, and taken together, it’s well worth a look.