Saturday, August 26, 2006

Light text on dark background vs. readability

Making those websites readable ...

"What's up with the current design trend of light text on dark backgrounds? Many web designers seem to favour inverted colour schemes, but what happened to readability and usability? I know I am not the only person to find it very uncomfortable to read text on sites with inverted, high contrast designs.

Light-on-dark designs aren't new. What's new is that they have been appearing more frequently in the last year or so. Just take a look at the CSS Reboot Spring 2006 participants. Plenty of light-on-dark designs there.

So what, exactly, is my complaint? If I don’t like the design of a site, I don't have to visit it. Well yes, but there is a lot of interesting content on some sites that use inverted colours. When possible, I read their content in my feed reader. If I can't do that I just stop visiting. It's a shame, but my eyes simply can't take the strain.

It isn't just about using light-on-dark text in the main content area either. I also find that high contrasts between different areas of the page cause problems. An example is when the main content area uses dark-on-light and there is an inverted sidebar right next to it. It hurts my eyes, and if possible I make my browser window narrow enough to hide the inverted part of the page when I visit sites that have that kind of design."   (Continued via 456 Berea Street)   [Usability Resources]

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