[thelist] Text/Background Readability

Ismail KIRTILLI listeler at ismailk.net
Wed Jul 3 15:24:07 CDT 2002

[ Converted text/html to text/plain ]
|  The question has arisen about changing the colors of my article
|  pages
|  (http://www.ballsome.com/test/games/hardware/articles/20011107[1]-
|  1.xml) from black
|  text on a white background to white text on a black background.
|  What
|  implications does this have on readability and such? Would these
|  potential
|  consequences be worth it if it meant a more cohesive overall
|  design? Any thoughts?
It has been asked in SIGIA list once, here is what I have smummarized so far.

(1) http://www.lighthouse.org/print_leg.htm[2]

"1. Contrast Text should be printed with the highest possible contrast.
There is good evidence that for many readers who are older or partially
sighted, light (white or light yellow) letters on a dark (black) background
are more readable than dark letters on a light background. However, the
traditional dark on light may be aesthetically preferable."

(2) http://www.colormatters.com/optics.html[3]
"The human eye can see 7,000,000 colors. Some of these are eyesores. Certain
colors and color relationships can be eye irritants, cause headaches, and
wreak havoc with human vision. Other colors and color combinations are
soothing. Consequently, the appropriate use of color can maximize
productivity, minimize visual fatigue, and relax the whole body."

Look at the Second Test near the bottom of the page -- with the white star on
a black background.

"This time the issue is color contrast. The difference between white and black
creates excessive muscular activity which fatigues the eye. The same thing
happens when you try to read white papers on a black or dark desk...

The scientific explanation is as follows: White surfaces reflect about 80% of
the light, black 5%. We take these two percentages, divide 80 by 5 and we get
a 16:1 Light Reflectance ratio. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) in
the United States recommends a maximum ratio of 3:1 for a visual task and the
adjacent surroundings."

(3) http://www.ergogero.com/FAQ/Part6/cfaqPart6.html[4]
Part 6: Color for Text and Graph Legibility. See 6.2 Should text be black on
white or white on black? "Black on white generally produces results which are
equal to or better than white on black(e .g., Sanders and Bernecker, 1990;
Bernecker, et al., 1994), although the outcome depends on exact circumstances.
Factors favoring black on white include: ... On the other hand, there are
factors favoring white on black: ..."

-- Ismail KIRTILLI, listeler at ismailk.net on 13.01.1997
Have a nice day - Passez une bonne journee

  1. http://www.ballsome.com/test/games/hardware/articles/20011107
  2. http://www.lighthouse.org/print_leg.htm
  3. http://www.colormatters.com/optics.html
  4. http://www.ergogero.com/FAQ/Part6/cfaqPart6.html

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