As a web designer, you might have had to deal with web fonts which didn't work properly at some point. Since quite some time now we can supposedly easy add them to websites what opened up endless new possibilities but at the same time cascades of problems. Typefaces which work both great printed and on screens are rare. And then there are different platforms to deal with, languages, file sizes and licenses.
Corporate designs often still don't take digital channels into account. We have the year 2016 and there are still branding agencies around working like this. And I am not just talking about fonts. Interaction design has to be considered on a whole different level. Animations can define a look and feel of an app or website in a good or very bad way. That means that a motion designer should carefully compose them as an integral part of a modern branding concept.
But back to the basics. Additionally, to formal criteria, we have to deal with font licenses which tend to be inflexible and sometimes just impractical. Sometimes web fonts from large distributors have serious quality issues. Language support is another thing to consider. It occurred to me once that the Hungarian language in combination with older browsers can hold some site breaking surprises. Yes, edge case but still. More than one time we ended up realizing that Arial and Georgia are actually not that bad. They just work (on the web).
So the testing and choosing of font families have to follow some kind of checklist and that should happen early in the process. And it should somehow take all the things mentioned above into account. How would you start?
At this point, fontool comes into play. It offers you a simple and straightforward way to scrutinize font families on their suitability for your web projects. It currently allows you to test google web fonts but other possibilities are in the making.
What it does is offering access to the font library and loading preformatted text. You can then switch the language and toggle a fallback font. And that's it. No text editing, no fancy font list, do direct comparing (you can just open another browser window). The limited functionality lets you focus on readability, platforms, language support or rendering quality. It runs on your phone, tablet and favorite browser (unless it is ie8).
There will be some additional features in the future, e.g. another page with specimen and font information. I'll also try to integrate other platforms, if possible. And I will add more languages. But besides this, it will remain as simple as that.