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RE: What color is comfortable for Intranet?

From: Marjolein Katsma <hgnje001@sneakemail.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 15:30:07 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "John Foliot - bytown internet foliot-at-bytowninternet.com |wai/1.0-Dam|" <lmuuh8cjap0t@sneakemail.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 14:21 2003-03-15, John Foliot wrote:
>[http://edgarmatias.com/faq/S/S-9.html] too suggests that lighter text on
>dark backgrounds produces less eye strain, but also goes on to suggest that
>black text on white backgrounds produces the best legibility and thus

Unfortunately, the latter isn't true for all eyes - the white background can produce glare which can reduce the perceived "thickness" and "sharpness" of the characters displayed on that background. Especially the latter (characters not perceived as "sharp") is what causes fatigue - the eyes will constantly try to focus and constantly not get a better result.

(This is a problem for me personally, a reason why I have "taught" The Proxomitron [1] to filter out white backgrounds from web pages so the background color will revert to my default window background color which is off-white. White-on-black is even more tiring, I'm not sure why (possibly because there's not enough light overall) - I only know that my eyes are very sensitive to glare.)

For such eyes black on a *light* background (fairly high but not maximum contrast) provides much better legibility - this reduces glare but retains the same advantage of comprehension/retention for all (i.e., including those for whom black on white would also be legible).

Personally, I never use black on white, or white on black, for the above reason. Of course brightness contrast should always be sufficient when seen in grayscale (I use that as a basic test for color-blindness accessibility). I've only received a complaint once, from someone who didn't like the color scheme on a site (well, tough).

Using a light color instead of white (either as background or foreground color) has an added advantage that it can be part of a site's look and feel (or 'branding') for those who can actually perceive the colors.

[1] http://proxomitron.org/

Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Sunday, 16 March 2003 16:28:01 UTC

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