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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMr View Post
    I agree. You also appear to have problems with logic, understanding of science, and staying on point.

    As for the partial quotes, they are straight down the thread so there is no excuse but laziness or incompetence for not being able to easily see the full context.
    Oh jezz.... No you didn't! This is just too amusing.

    Don't worry Lavinco, it's all just in the heat of a good debate. MrMr is all worked up and passionate about his opinion. I'm sure he doesn't really mean I can't grasp logic or comprehend science... Although, I have yet to see any lab experiments in this thread.

    BTW: I thought I did stay on point

    Look, I don't want to waste time in a pissing war with you but if you're going to quote people so energetically, how about giving it some context. You came out swinging but you didn't address the point about the gross number of opinions stating that this is about usability not artistic style. Clearly, competently going through the list of quotes you highlighted with vigor (no laziness here), it becomes evident that the reason most of these designers are using a dark grey like #333 is for legibility and ease on the eyes and that's the point I was directing your attention to. Sure some people just like the way it looks but the majority appreciate the way dark grey on white makes it easier to read the text. That is by definition, usability. Should we have a poll?

    I guess it's all about contrast. With paper you need the highest contrast you can get because paper reflects light and absorbs some of it in the process. Screens do the opposite because they emit light. When your LCD monitor dies, it's likely that the back lighting source just needs to be replaced. Don't forget my example of a monitor with a white page lighting a room versus a piece of ultra bright writing weight paper not doing such a good job of lighting the room. (A little bit of science for ya ) When you design for the web you have to get away from what works in print. You'll note that many sites in an attempt to soften the contrast use an off white against black or very dark grey text. It's to achieve the same result... Ease of reading.

    None the less you already seem to be set in your opinion so this is probably falling on deaf ears. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

    Off Topic:

    BTW: I have been involved in usability testing. One of the sites I helped develop about six years ago went through months of usability testing and although the site has gone through several design revisions since we built it, the darkest text on white is still #333.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  2. #52
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awasson View Post
    Off Topic:

    BTW: I have been involved in usability testing. One of the sites I helped develop about six years ago went through months of usability testing and although the site has gone through several design revisions since we built it, the darkest text on white is still #333.
    Did it involve test persons with visual disabilities ?
    If not ... you're still not making your point.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you follow the Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser
    #000 on #fff gives you a contrast ratio of 21.00:1 (AAA)
    #555 on #fff gives you a contrast ratio of 7.46:1 (AAA)
    Sitepoint's #222 on #F9FAF9 gives you a contrast ratio of 15.21:1 (AAA)

    As you can see you have a lot of choice in the colors & contrast while still be keeping an AAA rating.

    Most designers here agreed that the design of dark grey on white is nicer then black on white. (fact ...)
    The only accessibility rules I've seen here mention the contrast ratio

    Higher contrast (black on white) is probably better accessibility wise, then a slightly lower contrast (dark grey on white).
    But as with all things on Webdesign, we have to make choises, based on different aspects. (usability, accessibility, information design, visual design, branding, etc ...)

    As long as the designer keeps a good contrast ratio, I don't see any problem in using slightly lower contrasts for text. (You have a lot of playground with this (#000 --> #555))

    If you take every usability & accessibility rule too strict (maximum values) you are too limited in design decisions, & all sites would resemble more. It's the job of the designer to find the best average of all aspects of web design.

  3. #53
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMr View Post
    Not true, at all. What thread are you reading?

    [lots of quotes]

    ~~~

    Not ONE cited any opinion from users or any hard data.

    Face it, this fad has no justification except in the minds of "designers".
    Except, all these people ARE users & customers of many other sites, and constitutes a fairly decent sample size, I'd say, and this thread could easily count as a study into the subject, with the majority opinion of those surveyed (ie, users of this website, who also use other websites and know a bit about usability etc) being that grey text on a white background is easier on the eye, and not difficult to read.

    There is your scientific study & data.

    You pasted links about people 'making up' a problem when it comes to nut allergies, yet that is exactly what you are doing here - inventing a 'problem' of grey text on a white background, and the only evidence I've seen you paste is the opinion of Jakob Nielson, who mentioned it once on that page in passing, and is still only the opinion of one bloke. Compare that to the majority opinion on here going against your view.

  4. #54
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Except, all these people ARE users & customers of many other sites, and constitutes a fairly decent sample size, I'd say, and this thread could easily count as a study into the subject, with the majority opinion of those surveyed (ie, users of this website, who also use other websites and know a bit about usability etc) being that grey text on a white background is easier on the eye, and not difficult to read.

    There is your scientific study & data.

    You pasted links about people 'making up' a problem when it comes to nut allergies, yet that is exactly what you are doing here - inventing a 'problem' of grey text on a white background, and the only evidence I've seen you paste is the opinion of Jakob Nielson, who mentioned it once on that page in passing, and is still only the opinion of one bloke. Compare that to the majority opinion on here going against your view.
    No it's not a scientific study at all, you have really biased results because
    • most people on this thread are active in the web-industry & can't be taken as your average website user.
    • you still have a "fear" factor on professional fora, real novice users mostly read a thread & won't reply on it --> which means that the users who replied on this thread don't even represent the average Sitepoint user.
    • not even 1% of all websites has the same primary user base (developers, designers, ...) as Sitepoint has.
    • ....


    On the other hand, Most recommendations by Jakob Nielsen are based on real tests where he actually observes users. Not only based on what they say, but on how they act (big difference). 99% of what he writes is based on study results, not on his own opinion & he carefully selects his test persons

    But like mentioned before ... you have to deal with all aspects of webdesign. Accessibility is only a part of it, design is another aspect that needs to be taken into account to have a successful website.
    It's not because you make the best aerodynamic car, that it will sell (it could look really ugly because of aerodynamic optimizations)

    This discussion is pretty useless, because we're talking about a 2-5 % less effectiveness (dark grey vs black) for a user group that doesn't even reach 1% of all internet users.

  5. #55
    SitePoint Addict WebMachine's Avatar
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    I agree that dark grey on white is easier on the eyes, but I have had the same issues with the original poster about some sites. The problem is that the grey they use is not dark enough, and yes, it is very hard to read. I have left many sites because I was tired of straining my eyes trying to read something that didn't have enough contrast.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fre420 View Post
    Higher contrast (black on white) is probably better accessibility wise, then a slightly lower contrast (dark grey on white).
    It's not quite that simple, I'm afraid. High contrast is essential for people with low vision. The poorer your eye-sight, the more contrast you need. So far so well.

    But there are other disabilities where high contrast can be a disadvantage. For instance, users with certain types of dyslexia find it more difficult to read high contrast text like black on white. They often prefer pastel shades, like blue on pale yellow or black (or dark grey) on pale green.

    Accessibility is multi-faceted; in many cases what improves accessibility for one group will also benefit others, but there are instances where different disabilities have conflicting needs.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMr View Post
    Well the majority of responders, in this thread, have claimed that it looks better. But not one of them cites their customers' or clients' feedback -- or better yet, a double-blind usability study.

    So yes, this is answered to my satisfaction until actual scientific evidence is obtained.
    Here is some customer/client feedback from people using websites:

    http://www.456bereastreet.com/archiv...ity/#comment45 - For a lot of people like myself who are dyslexic, the standard black on white is of too high a contrast to be able to read properly

    http://www.e-bility.com/articles/dyslexia.php - Common problems experienced by individuals with dyslexia when using the Internet include... poor contrast backgrounds (either too low or too high)

    http://www.joedolson.com/articles/20...#comment-16763 - I have more trouble reading black on white BECAUSE of the higher contrast


    One thing that has occurred to me, as a result of reading/scanning lots of stuff about this very topic is that (a) I do find stark black-on-white more of a strain, but (b) what makes more of a difference is the amount of spacing and leading. Some pages have text that is quite large - larger than I would prefer, but not excessive - but there is so little space between the lines that at first sight it just appears to be an impenetrable block. A slightly larger line-height does wonders for increasing the legibility of text.

  8. #58
    Hibernator YuriKolovsky's Avatar
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    Here is some customer/client feedback from people using websites:

    http://www.456bereastreet.com/archiv...ity/#comment45 - For a lot of people like myself who are dyslexic, the standard black on white is of too high a contrast to be able to read properly

    http://www.e-bility.com/articles/dyslexia.php - Common problems experienced by individuals with dyslexia when using the Internet include... poor contrast backgrounds (either too low or too high)

    http://www.joedolson.com/articles/20...#comment-16763 - I have more trouble reading black on white BECAUSE of the higher contrast


    One thing that has occurred to me, as a result of reading/scanning lots of stuff about this very topic is that (a) I do find stark black-on-white more of a strain, but (b) what makes more of a difference is the amount of spacing and leading. Some pages have text that is quite large - larger than I would prefer, but not excessive - but there is so little space between the lines that at first sight it just appears to be an impenetrable block. A slightly larger line-height does wonders for increasing the legibility of text.
    excellent reading there
    text readability is a whole subject of its own.

    and ill also say the same...
    designers love to use low contrasts because for them its easier to read and looks prettier, for people with color some degree of color blindness or monitor problems this might not be so useful.

    but the mayority of the public seems to likes it (when questioning), so it brings more business, so more designers do it...

    they also tend to use extremely small text sizes, but that can be fixed using ctrl + +

    makes me thing, firefox needs a text contrast amplifying plugin.


    here is a example of how eyes can hurt from over contrast
    Last edited by YuriKolovsky; Jan 22, 2009 at 13:22.

  9. #59
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    (b) what makes more of a difference is the amount of spacing and leading. Some pages have text that is quite large - larger than I would prefer, but not excessive - but there is so little space between the lines that at first sight it just appears to be an impenetrable block. A slightly larger line-height does wonders for increasing the legibility of text.
    can you show some examples of pages you have problems with.

    I learned as a general rule to use 130-150% leading (mostly 140%), but I have no idea if that also counts of people with dyslexia or other visual problems.

  10. #60
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fre420 View Post
    Most designers here agreed that the design of dark grey on white is nicer then black on white. (fact ...)
    If it really was a fact you could provide some evidence for it instead of just a claim.

    Even so, if everyone agrees the world is flat does that make it flat?
    Ed Seedhouse

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fre420 View Post
    Did it involve test persons with visual disabilities ?
    If not ... you're still not making your point.
    Indeed we did. It was for a bank website and the test groups consisted of actual banking customers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.... Thanks for bringing that up Oh and the point was in answer to MrMr who was interested whether anyone actually conducts usability testing when they design sites with softened contrast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fre420 View Post
    No it's not a scientific study at all, you have really biased results because
    • most people on this thread are active in the web-industry & can't be taken as your average website user.
    • you still have a "fear" factor on professional fora, real novice users mostly read a thread & won't reply on it --> which means that the users who replied on this thread don't even represent the average Sitepoint user.
    • not even 1% of all websites has the same primary user base (developers, designers, ...) as Sitepoint has.
    • ....
    Can't agree with you there... Data is data. If one were to conduct a study, this could be part of the data. Furthermore:

    Point 1 is unlikely due to the "fact" that yes we are web professionals and are more likely to experience eye strain from over use of screen text. I don't know about you but I spend 8 - 10 hours in front of the monitor on average every day.

    Point 2... I don't see your point.

    Point 3 & 4 ...More of the same unsubstantiated

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D
    One thing that has occurred to me, as a result of reading/scanning lots of stuff about this very topic is that (a) I do find stark black-on-white more of a strain, but (b) what makes more of a difference is the amount of spacing and leading. Some pages have text that is quite large - larger than I would prefer, but not excessive - but there is so little space between the lines that at first sight it just appears to be an impenetrable block. A slightly larger line-height does wonders for increasing the legibility of text.
    Great point... I set my base copy leading to 160% and adjust from there... Often for an H1 block of "Welcome" text, I'll crank it up to 180% for better readability.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  12. #62
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a fact source
    But unless you're a character on "Heroes," genes don't mutate fast enough to have caused an 18% increase in childhood food allergies between 1997 and 2007. And genes certainly don't cause 25% of parents to believe that their kids have food allergies, when 4% do. Yuppiedom does.
    I Lawlz'd at that one. Srsly.
    I never used to be bothered by high contrast. Nowadays I do and that's prolly cause I stare too much at the screen.

    BTW I'm feeling so trendy right now, I could almost buy an Apple product.

  13. #63
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    If it really was a fact you could provide some evidence for it instead of just a claim.

    Even so, if everyone agrees the world is flat does that make it flat?
    sorry I'll have to rephrase it.

    Most designers who commented this thread, agreed that the design of dark grey on white is nicer then black on white. (fact ...)

    count it yourself

  14. #64
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    Actually the majority of responders cite a better visual experience for the visitor.
    Post the url. I'd like to see it, just out of curiosity.


    MrMr, I think maybe you are talking about light gray, and others are talking about a darker shade?

    Excuse me if I missed it if it has already been mentioned.


    This is not for some cool or trendy look it's for visibility hence usability.
    Uh, for many many webmasters, yeah, it is. Along with other light colors. Otherwise they would just simply use black on white.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fre420 View Post
    sorry I'll have to rephrase it.

    Most designers who commented this thread, agreed that the design of dark grey on white is nicer then black on white. (fact ...)

    count it yourself
    I went back and read the posts again and I think you'll have to rephrase one more time...

    Most of the responses didn't say anything about what is nicer. They said they used a dark grey to make it read better. There's a huge difference between nicer and reads better
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  16. #66
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    Is this really worth ranting about ?

    If you don't like grey text in websites... don't use grey text in your website! It's as simple as that.

    And if visiting a site hurts your eyes... don't visit that site. The end.
    Yup.

  17. #67
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awasson View Post
    Can't agree with you there... Data is data. If one were to conduct a study, this could be part of the data. Furthermore:

    Point 1 is unlikely due to the "fact" that yes we are web professionals and are more likely to experience eye strain from over use of screen text. I don't know about you but I spend 8 - 10 hours in front of the monitor on average every day.

    Point 2... I don't see your point.

    Point 3 & 4 ...More of the same unsubstantiated
    I have to disagree.
    It really depends who filled in the survey or did the test.

    If you want scientific proof for this type of test. You'll have to get a certain amount of people, where all categories of persons are presented (in the same %'s of the total population that uses the internet).

    point 2 ... online surveys are biased because mostly only people who
    • really like the site/topic/company
    • really dislike the site/topic/company

    will be the ones that do the effort to answer them.
    Your average user will most likely not answer the survey.

    Forum posts are even more biased. You will only see the posts of the
    • forum post whores who just want to post on every thread
    • the people that are really against it
    • the people that are really pro

    A lot of people do have their opinion on this subject, but don't want to make it clear to the public, because they don't find it important enough to spent time on (or even to register).
    Most people that don't have an opinion on this, or don't find this subject important, or think both parties are 50% correct, will not respond to this thread.
    Because of this, the posts on Sitepoint do not represent the average thoughts of the visitors of Sitepoint. It only represents the part of Sitepoint users that shouts the loudest or does care to express his opinion in public. (take a look at some average forum stats on subscribed members vs active members)

    point 3 ... You really can't generalize web developers / webdesigners opinion as a descent reference for the opinion of all the internet users.
    If i'd think that way, 50% of my users would have a 1600x1200 screen, 99% of all my users would hate (& never use) Internet Explorer.
    (figures are fake, but you'll get the point)

  18. #68
    SitePoint Addict Fre420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awasson View Post
    I went back and read the posts again and I think you'll have to rephrase one more time...

    Most of the responses didn't say anything about what is nicer. They said they used a dark grey to make it read better. There's a huge difference between nicer and reads better
    god damned you're right.

    2nd rephrase
    Most members who commented this thread on the design-aspect of grey text, agreed that the design of dark grey on white is nicer then black on white.

  19. #69
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    point 3 ... You really can't generalize web developers / webdesigners opinion as a descent reference for the opinion of all the internet users.
    If i'd think that way, 50% of my users would have a 1600x1200 screen, 99% of all my users would hate (& never use) Internet Explorer.
    (figures are fake, but you'll get the point)
    Lawlz. I want users like that : )

    You're right, though the answers here could certainly be useful for measuring web developers : ) the same people using light grey on white, and
    -people staring at a screen all day
    -browsing the internets (not working on say a banking system with its own set colours)
    -who care about text colours : )

    No, I wouldn't call what was posted in this thread scientific at all, but it IS useful. Just not the same as a sit-down-and-test usability study.

  20. #70
    Hibernator YuriKolovsky's Avatar
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    -people staring at a screen all day
    -browsing the internets (not working on say a banking system with its own set colours)
    -who care about text colours : )
    we do stare all day

    why are so many sites using gray text?
    because screen staring web developers with sensitive eyes design most sites.

  21. #71
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by YuriKolovsky View Post
    why are so many sites using gray text?
    because screen staring web developers with sensitive eyes design most sites.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

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    SitePoint Zealot quantum physics's Avatar
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    looks attractive,I personally use gray text aswell!

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    Here is some customer/client feedback from people using websites:
    ... (Lousy forum redacts links for newbies, see QP.) ...
    Thank you Stevie. Those are certainly worth reading. (Which I'm off to do.)

  24. #74
    SitePoint Zealot Lavinco's Avatar
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    I'm squinting right now reading all these arguments with black on white.

  25. #75
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    lol

    That was the best post in this nerdy little thread.


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