I have to admit that I’m not opening Sublime on a daily basis for work. But when I first read about Input as a type system designed for code, I was intrigued. I was interested in learning more about the choices made and how those decisions translated to a better experience for the user over time.
First things first: Input is the very definition of options. The face is cut in many ways. There’s Input Mono, Input Sans, and Input Serif. For each of those versions, the weight goes from thin to black, with italic versions of each. So that’s seven different default letterform options with matching italics × four widths (Normal, Narrow, Condensed, and Compressed) × three variants (Mono, Sans, and Serif), for a total of 168 styles. The system is designed for diverse developers with nuanced preferences.
With lots of options come lots of decisions — how is someone supposed to make an informed decision without spending eight hours trying to decide what will work for them? That’s where the effective preview system on Input’s microsite comes in. By selecting different font styles, widths, weights, sizes, and line heights, users don’t have to experiment with hundreds of fonts in their own environment. They can move a toggle around to see what each variation of the fonts will look like in a number of different color backgrounds designed to simulate a code editor.
When it comes to writing and reading code, the user’s preference is paramount and Input offers plenty of ways to hit their sweet spot.
Michael Surtees is a product design director and practitioner of user experience design (UXD) based in NYC. Currently he is the Head of Design at Dataminr designing early warning and detection systems for clients in News, Finance and the Public Sector.