The redesign you have done makes each article pop more, but for me, that isn't a concern.
I want the 'pop' from the content, not the design.
I also think that the Verdana or any other non-serif font has a cleaner edgier look which fits HN well.
That's why there's a helvetica/arial fallback in the font stack.
Found this survey, Calibri has a 57% penetration on Windows http://www.codestyle.org/css/font-family/sampler-CombinedRes...
The Georgia font seems cheesier to me, but (once again), I'm not a designer.
* Verdana isn't designed for ClearType, and it tends to look bold when ClearType is on.
* Verdana has no small caps.
* Verdana has unusual (some say backwards) quotes: "''". (The HN comments aren't in Verdana, at least on my system, so the previous quotes probably don't look bad).
* Verdana has a large x-height that requires extra leading, and each character is unusually wide compared to other faces. If you use Verdana then your properly-set document will be noticably larger in area. This makes it unusable when you need to show lots of information in a small area. It also reduces online readability somewhat, because it increases the amount of scrolling the user needs to do.
* Because of Verdana's unusual metrics, you cannot nicely mix it (inline) with anything except Tahoma, Georgia, and Consolas.
* Verdana doesn't implement all the dashes (en, em, minus, etc.) well. At least one of them is missing, and the ones that are there don't look that great. In particular, IIRC, the em-dash looks a lot like an en-dash, which is exactly what you don't want.
* Verdana only has lining figures; there are no old-style figures.
* It was designed for on-screen use, not for print use. IMO, the x-height and character width impairs readability on the printed page. (However, I remember some study that said that term papers printed in Georgia tended to get higher grades than those printed in Times New Roman, so...)
Microsoft's ClearType Font Collection (the C* fonts) are much better in almost every way that I can think of, including the above areas. The main problems I've found with the C* fonts are: (1) they don't mix well with the default Thai font on Windows which is bold like Verdana when ClearType is on, and (2) they don't mix well with Consolas, because Consolas has a similar x-height to Verdana, Tahoma, and Georgia.
Arguably, serifs are actually more readable. There is some dispute with this when you throw windows ClearType into the mix, because many serif fonts do not fare well under that treatment.
> The redesign you have done makes each article pop more, but for me, that isn't a concern. I want the 'pop' from the content, not the design.
These are two entirely separate kinds of “pop”.
The biggest problem with the redesign, in my opinion, is that the space (margin) between the links is much less (relatively) than the original HN, so this design seems very crowded.
Something that is cleaner and slightly more geometric seems to me to be useful. Something like Athelas or Adelle for headlines. If we want to keep that classic cut-journalism feel, there are still other options.
And yes, these fonts are available for inexpensive licensing as a font-face.