Daring Fireball makes the case (if one needed to be made) for gracing the Web with real typography and the use of such non-ASCII characters as curly quotes and em dashes.
Proper typographic punctuation is 400-year-old news. That it’s considered exotic, or even non-standard, on today’s web is embarrassing. The solution isn’t for everyone to limit themselves to the same character set used on 1970’s-era VT-100 terminals. The solution is for software developers to write smarter software. Every day more web sites are starting to use smart punctuation, making sites that don’t — and the software behind them — look bad.
I haven’t been able to meet my typographic ideal yet with MediaSavvy, but it’s a medium-term goal for this site, once I get the content and focus where it needs to be. But, after reading The Elements of Typographic Style (an amazing book), I’m ready to polish this site’s design.
The 400 years of typographic tradition have (unconsciously) conditioned our readers to conventions that we flout at our peril.