Wow! The web would be a BORING place if we all followed your text-only design approach. I'll give you that WEFT is an option but as you mentioned, consumes too much bandwidth and is limited to MSIE - a browser people would be smart to stay away from for security reasons, but that's another thread. But to say that using an image in place of a particular font as a headline or header is a bandwidth hog is very misleading. You can make these images very tiny in filesize. Flash files can be very small also for that matter - especially if the swf file doesn't contain a gross overuse of animation. And chances are, no plug-in downloads are needed since nearly every browser from version 4.0 and up has come with the flash pugin already installed - just make sure you save your swf as an older version such as 5.0, of course unless you're designing using more advanced actionscripting (which I'd be willing to bet you're not).Originally Posted by Twey
Here's the final word...
DESIGN FOR YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
If the average person in your target group is using 28.8kBps dial-up or the type of person that doesn't know much about computers in general, by all means keep your page free of or light on the graphics and use mostly all text. Actually, you should use as much true text on your page (as opposed to text within graphics) for the fastest load time as well as search engine optimization and indexing reasons (of course, you can always attach text to images using html alt-tags to help index important words within a graphic - these words are shown as the image loads and is replaced by the image once loaded) And as I also mentioned above and agree with Twey, you're best bet for body copy is to use a font common to all users and platforms such as Arial, Verdana, Times, etc.
However, if your average user is 56k or higher, you probably want to incorporate some design aesthetics to make your page a little more attractive rather than simple text. If you know the average user you're designing for is using broadband, you probably don't really need to consider bandwidth for the average site. In this case, use of special fonts can be very important in creating the impact you're looking for. Case in point, look in the upper left of this page. You'll notice the Dynamic logo with its special fonts. It's only 2kb! - loads nearly instantly even for 28.8 users! It's all in how you create the image. Basic rule of thumb: if your image has solid colors with crisp edges separating it from the background, save your file as a .gif. If your image has gradations such as photos, has drop shadows, or other "effects" save your file as a .jpg. (yes, nitpickers, there are other file types you can save as that can be viewed within most browsers such as .png but let's keep this easy). If you're really worried that a particular image may load too slowly, try cutting/slicing the image into a few pieces and reassemble them in the html layout. 2 or 3 smaller images loading simultaneously will load faster than one large uncut image. Another tip is to use tileable images where possible such as backgrounds. There are some really great pixel pattern background sites out there, such as http://www.k10k.net/. There is no cut-and-dry method for designing your site. Just keep your target audience in mind and make something you're happy with and loads "fast enough."