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View Poll Results: Is black text on a white background the real only option?

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  • Yes

    7 28.00%
  • No

    18 72.00%
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
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    If a site is quite info based, say it reviews music or books so there is a fair amount of text and reading required, is black text on a white background the only option.

    I ask this because nearly every tutorial article says that this is by far the best option if you have a lot of text, they often quote that large companies use this because after usability tests such as Suns this combination was easiest on the eye.

    I am helping a friend design his site and he would like a colored background, but not at the expense of people leaving the site because they find it hard to read. He asked me and I had no problem with either a dark text on a light background or white text on a darkish background, providing that the backgrounds were more of a matt finish such as white text on #3366cc and not a gloss finish.

    However before commiting to this I thought I'd check here to see what everyone else thinks, any opinions much appreciated, thanks - Neil.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Your poll needs a 3rd choice: "Almost"

    Sites that are real content sites look best if they are black on white. Some sites can do a very light colored background with black text. Many fewer sites can pull off white text on a dark background.

    For safety, I would say always do black on white.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot honging's Avatar
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    Very lightly colored backgrounds are ok. Most sites can pull them off with ease.

    One of the big issues that keeps coming up for me personally (I own a large chemistry resource site) is that people want to print off pages, and sites with colored backgrounds will come off... incorrectly. Pages with black backgrounds with white text, when printed, will come out with a white bg and white text.

    To offset this, you can define a separate CSS attribute (media="print"), which eliminates this problem. I wish someone had told me!

    But overall, if the site looks decent with a slightly colored background (design-wise), you should do it!

  4. #4
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I usually use black text on off-white backgrounds.

    By off-white, I mean that you start with white #FFFFFF and remove small amounts of colour from one or more channel.

    Ie, #FFFFDF is often nice.

    For palettised displays (ie people with 256 colour mode) it will appear as the nearest palette colour, so don't make it too dark. It is better to get translated to white than to a darker colour.
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  5. #5
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    Purple texty on a yellow backgournd looks good!

    Excuse me - I just had a cerebral heomorage.

    Seriously, though these forums are very readable and they use light tones as the background colour.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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  7. #7
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    I selected no. Reason being is isn't the most realistic choice. there are many choices depending on your site content.

    if its content based, make sure you use a light backgorund and dark text. i won't say black and white, but thats one of the better options of colour combination.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast sharkrey's Avatar
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    Hey,

    Interestingly enough, I recently did an informal survey with people I know on this very subject.

    Talking with some 40 people, by far the majority opinion is in favor of simple black on white.

    Next would be dark shades on very light backgrounds. (Dark blue on cream , for example.)

    Biggest turn-off seemed to be vibrating combo's. Blue on red, etc.

    I'm a new designer, and so far all of my designs have been have had simple white backgrounds. But that's jus' me...
    Gary Reynolds
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  9. #9
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    Frankly, pure white #FFFFFF can get a little glaring after some time, especially for information-based sites like you've mentioned. So it may not appropriate afterall.
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  10. #10
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    If you're worried about printing, you should have a printable-version that takes out the interface and changes the colors to black on white.

  11. #11
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Anarchos
    If you're worried about printing, you should have a printable-version that takes out the interface and changes the colors to black on white.
    should be applicable on sites which offer articles, tutorials, etc. otherwise, this is useless.
    Last edited by lynlimz; May 2, 2001 at 23:08.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    I don't see what your point is. Any database-driven site can easily make such a script...

  13. #13
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    nono.. haha.
    i meant, the printable version wouldn't be required unless you offer articles, tutorials etc. on your site.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot Aonghus's Avatar
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    I don't think black on white is the only option. Just look at these forums; the background on peoples' posts aren't white, but they're still easy to read. I do agree that strong colours for backgrounds should be avoided, but very light colours are fine.

    -Aonghus


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