Joined UX just a while back, impressed by the questions being asked here and the answers to them.

I bit curious to know the reason behind choosing the fontface in bold for Q&A in ux.stackexchange.com site?

Are there any UX principles applied for it aswell?

Edit OS : win xp sp3 Browser : Firefox 9.0.1 fonts in bold

  • Which bits of copy are you referring to? Generally bold is used to denote importance/headings (question title) or an active state (current sub tab, like "active" under "Questions") generally used to draw attention as bold always is.
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 14:33
  • yes that works in other SO & similar sites, but here all text appear in bold face and text marked in ** appear indifferent. I tried to answer 'how' its done part, not sue about 'why' Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:32
  • You're saying all text appears bold? That shouldn't be the case (this text should NOT be bold for example), perhaps it's a CSS/browser bug? Could you post a screenshot?
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:34
  • yes. It might be a bug not sure, I am using firefox 9.0.1 Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:41
  • Have you actually got a Helvetica Neue font on your system and if so, do you have regular as well as bold installed? Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 17:29
  • @RogerAttrill how can I check it? Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 17:38
  • on XP - I think something like the following: Control Panel -> Appearance and Themes -> Fonts (from left panel) -> Inspect the list that comes up in the window and/or double click to view the font in a preview window. Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


If you have installed Safari on your computer, then it is possible you have Helvetica Neue on your computer; most Windows users will not. Thus this may be a font issue with Helvetica under Windows XP. You should check your Fonts folder, and perhaps see if removing Helvetica Neue resolves the issue.enter code here.

Examining your screenshot closesly, I do believe it is Helvetica Neue, not Arial (the top of a lowercase t is slanted in Arial, flat in Helvetica Neue, among other subtle differences). You may not have all the font weights installed properly, or the font renderer may not be correctly choosing between them. The default Helvetica Neue weight looks bold to me.


May be this is because 'Helvetica Neue' font with size font-size: 13px; being used across the site.

b, strong {
    font-weight: bold;

body {
    color: #444444;
    font-family: 'Helvetica Neue',Arial,sans-serif;
    font-size: 13px;
    line-height: 1;
    text-align: center;

And same reason makes it impossible to distinguish text marked in ** 'bold' ** from 'normal' text in the questions and answers.

Still don't understand why it is done this way.

  • 1
    I cannot reproduce this. what OS are you on?
    – Jin
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 21:22
  • Its win xp sp3, verified that fonts are okay in IE Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 23:51
  • 1
    I'd imagine the 'Helvetica Neue' is simply there for Mac users so that it uses the system font (which is Helvetica Neue) in preference to Arial. Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 17:57

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