[thelist] why web pages look having different color on different LCDs?

Bob Meetin bobm at dottedi.biz
Sun Dec 7 10:28:45 CST 2008

Hugh Miller wrote:
> Zhang, you might want to do a bit of time travelling:
> http://www.webdesignref.com/chapters/13/ch13-14.htm
> This is an older page, written at the time when most of us had desks covered in
> monitor footprints. Essentially the point is that you will find it very
> difficult to have consistent colour reproduction on LCDs.
> I remember doing a site at that time that the client wanted a pale gray
> background on. Unfortunately on his new fangled LCD the gray had a very subtle
> yellowness to it. When we redrafted the colour and achieved gray on his my top
> of the range CRT monitor was slightly green.
> Like many clients, he opted for that choice as his monitor simply had to be
> correct, it had after all cost him over £500 english pounds! Since that site was
> earning me less than the cost of his screen I let it pass.
> I was actually quite resistant to changing to an LCD due to that experience,
> only went to LCD last year, and I still keep a CRT for reference when planning
> colourschemes. I colourtest on a 17"ws laptop screen, a 24"ws Sony LCD from a
> PC, a 19"ws Hanns-G (cheap brand) on the same PC, another 19"ws Hanns-G on an OS
> X Mac (switching the colour calibration profiles about) and on a 20"4:3 Compaq
> CRT with reduced glare on the same Mac. In the real world I would think most
> webbies don't have that much kit available to them. So what can you do?
> It can be very tempting to go with what I 'know' to be correct. From my
> experience in print I can mix up colours in my head, but I have to resist that
> temptation and experiment pedantically with any lighter shade that I use. The
> problem is not so bad on dark colours, and in real world use it is likely that
> even a 5% +/- tinting variance can still be acceptable on dark colours, on light
> gray and pale colours though that much variance can be pretty shocking. At that
> level it can actually be quite valuable to go back to the 'websafe' palette that
> was de rigeur ten years ago.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_colors#Web-safe_colors
> Treat the paler shades as useful.
> Also see:
> http://www.modernlifeisrubbish.co.uk/article/web-2.0-colour-palette
> Which is a cynical look at colour use on the web.
> Cheers,
> H

Not to cloud an already murky picture (not me), but here's something I ran into recently, seemingly a tech/config issue on my end, but a morphed related issue:

With my Ubuntu Linux PC I have been using an older 22" monitor.  I just did a little office reconfig and moved my newish 22" widescreen (Acer) to the Linux PC. 
I reset the resolution to something like 1280x768 and the perspective looks perfect.

The problem - with this monitor on the Linux PC I seem to have lost portions of the color map. If I open Firefox, Seamonkey, Konqueror or Epiphany, same problem 
(so I think not browser specific).  On my website I have some background colors in the main content, I think either #eeeeee or perhaps #dddddd. The background 
flanking the content is white, #ffffff. Well it is all perfectly white now. The #eee or #ddd and #fff have all become white. I see this on other sites, not just 
mine. With some webforms (not web forms ha!) I look at some of the edges/borders which should be soft but are now blending into the white background.

If I move the monitor over to that other, Windows PC, the colors are as they should be. What tool or application do I need to access, even download, to correct 
this?  I don't see any screen setting under Display that control the number or array of colors.

This really lightens up a dark site, but certainly that is not the goal, you know...


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