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  1. #126
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    Certainly even this site can look glary, especially when there is unrelieved white as a background.

    Perhaps the answer is for users to adjust there monitors to reduce glare.

  2. #127
    Hibernator YuriKolovsky's Avatar
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    Perhaps the answer is for users to adjust there monitors to reduce glare.
    that looks like the best solution.

    i smell a need for new standarts, or simply a browser plugin.

  3. #128
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    OH NO! Someone call the interwebs police, I think there's been a black on white crime.

    You said it best in a previous post, it is subjective. If you don't like it, then find sites that have a contrast level to your liking and visit them.

  4. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMr View Post
    Can somebody please explain why so many sites are making their text harder to read?

    A lot of sites are using gray-on-white or gray-on-gray text -- including this one!

    Is there some backroom deal with eyedrop vendors? Why are designers doing this?

    Google shows plenty of others complaining about this and writing Greasemonkey scripts, but I missed the memo justifying this (appalling) practice.

    If you have a site with gray text, please explain why it's better than black text.
    I do it my self. I prefer a dark grey text on white. Its easier on the eyes and makes the site look more slick

  5. #130
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    I think contrast is good and readable - but at what price is it achieved?

    From about 1996 to 2006 I muted all the white backgrounds of my software applications (whenever possible).
    The problem was that monitors were CRTand I was staring at them for about 16 hours a day.
    Couldn't help feeling that plain white backgrounds on CRT were cooking my eyes.

    Also, I think the references to the print business are not quite apt: paper is normally off-white, ink is seldom jet-black. Even if paper is very white it is not an actual light source. But a monitor is. It makes a difference.

    Staring at a monitor all day can get to feel like staring at a light bulb.
    _____

    My preferred site design: background slightly off-white, text slightly off-black (somebody mentioned charcoal - that's the one). Also, serif fonts and extra leading. Perfect.

    However, from what I understand to be the internet-selling common sense, these choices are all marketing sins - you will lose visitors and sales.

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by modules View Post
    My preferred site design: background slightly off-white, text slightly off-black (somebody mentioned charcoal - that's the one). Also, serif fonts and extra leading. Perfect.
    Off Topic:

    You just described my blog!
    The text is very dark red, rather than charcoal, but otherwise it's spot on.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  7. #132
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    You can quantitatively measure readability by timing people reading passages with different settings. That's what has been done to measure line length's effect on readability, for example. I imagine there are similar tests for fatigue, etc, these aren't new issues.

    Betcha this was done extensively back when monitors were two color (leading to green or orange on black appearing as victors). Not that those results (assuming they exist!) would be relevant anymore.

    There was some concern in this thread that differences between monitors, sites, people, lighting, etc may lead an inability to study ... I kind of doubt those things are substantial, at least at the level of ignorance we have. Maybe after some initial results we start adjusting for environment variations? Science isn't about getting flawless, indisputable results on the first pass, that never happens.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  8. #133
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsm View Post
    You can quantitatively measure readability by timing people reading passages with different settings.
    That's a pretty poor test, because speed and comprehension are not necessarily linked. In fact, poor readability might lead to more skimming and therefore faster speeds. I'd be concerned if we based any practice on that kind of test.

  9. #134
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickSamphire View Post
    That's a pretty poor test, because speed and comprehension are not necessarily linked. In fact, poor readability might lead to more skimming and therefore faster speeds. I'd be concerned if we based any practice on that kind of test.
    You
    a. Time their reading
    b. Quiz them to make sure they really read it
    c. A hundred other methodology details I didn't bother to list

    The point is readability has been researched before, particularly for newspaper and magazines, and while the results may not perfectly translate for web content, the general methodology has been previously accepted by peer review journals and the like and I don't see any reason it wouldn't apply here.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  10. #135
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    you think that is bad?
    i've seen websites using YELLOW on white

    talk about an eye sore

  11. #136
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    Iíve noticed a nasty trend latelyÖ gray text on white. This isnít a cool trend as itís harder to read text. On top of that, on many sites you canít change the size of the text unless youíre using a browser like Firefox. So what if black text is boring? Thereís a reason for that ó itís readable.

    Most of us scan rather than read Web pages. Gray text is a barrier for scanning because it requires working harder to make out the text as it doesnít have a strong contrast to the background. Itís okay to use some gray text, but not for most of the pageís contents.

    But Iíd rather read gray on white than something like white or black on hot pink (OK, so thatís a teenís MySpace page, not an actual Web site). Seriously though, white background is preferred to a color background although Iíve seen some that are well done. In most cases, the font and background selections donít work well.

  12. #137
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    I think some of us think too restrictively. There's nothing wrong with dark grey (such as #1f1f1f) on a muted background such as an off-white or pale coffee-coloured background for example.

    Just like there's nothing wrong with a light grey on a dark background. Such as #efefef on a #1f1f1f background.

    Unless you guys want a boring looking WWW? There is a happy medium in there somewhere.

  13. #138
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsm View Post
    You
    a. Time their reading
    b. Quiz them to make sure they really read it
    c. A hundred other methodology details I didn't bother to list

    The point is readability has been researched before, particularly for newspaper and magazines, and while the results may not perfectly translate for web content, the general methodology has been previously accepted by peer review journals and the like and I don't see any reason it wouldn't apply here.
    Okay, I accept that that is a controllable test that will measure a form of readability. I'm not sure I accept that it has any real-world application, though, because of the factors I previously mentioned. They *are* significant. To carry out the scientific test, all other factors (screens, etc) would have to be standardised (you can't have too many variables in a test). I suppose the next test would be to compare readability on a wide range of screens and see if the optimum remained the same. Then you would want to look at different user groups. (Teenagers/elderly/experienced screen users/visually disabled and so on).

    Maybe this could all be carried out and with that information we could make decisions about our websites. The single baseline test, though, just wouldn't be enough.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide View Post
    Black text on white background is generally considered to be too high a contrast and hard on the eyes. A very dark grey on white is easier to read.

    If you had a slightly darker background then black might be more appropriate. It's not specifically the use of black - it's the contrast between the text colour and the background colour that's the issue.
    I agree the contrast of black text on white board is too high, why gray has enough contrast that's why it's good to the eyes.

  15. #140
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickSamphire View Post
    I'm not sure I accept that it has any real-world application, though, because of the factors I previously mentioned. They *are* significant.
    I don't know why you are setting the bar so high, right now we are using only speculation: adding in even rudimentary user testing would be an improvement.

    There are always unaccounted variables in research (especially on humans), the hope is that we get a sense of what is an isn't important as the problem is explored. So maybe those things you point out are significant or maybe they aren't. That's one of the things that we'd hopefully find out with more study.

    Research doesn't have to be a super complicated thing confined to academics and journals, businesses like Meetup do them every day on the cheap. If it is a genuine source of concern, you'd replicate something like that for your site.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  16. #141
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsm View Post
    I don't know why you are setting the bar so high, right now we are using only speculation: adding in even rudimentary user testing would be an improvement.

    There are always unaccounted variables in research (especially on humans), the hope is that we get a sense of what is an isn't important as the problem is explored. So maybe those things you point out are significant or maybe they aren't. That's one of the things that we'd hopefully find out with more study.

    Research doesn't have to be a super complicated thing confined to academics and journals, businesses like Meetup do them every day on the cheap. If it is a genuine source of concern, you'd replicate something like that for your site.
    I think you're missing my point entirely. MrMr was demanding absolute scientific proof. I was arguing that you're not going to get it and that the best you're going to get is well-designed usability and accessibility testing. I'm very happy with that as a basis for design. I neither need nor want some absolute proof as I don't believe a single optimal contrast exists for all sites.

  17. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickSamphire View Post
    I think you're missing my point entirely. MrMr was demanding absolute scientific proof. I was arguing that you're not going to get it and that the best you're going to get is well-designed usability and accessibility testing. I'm very happy with that as a basis for design. I neither need nor want some absolute proof as I don't believe a single optimal contrast exists for all sites.
    That's exactly what I was thinking. I am quite happy to reduce the contrast slightly to improve screen legibility as this is what makes sense to me (and is backed up by various books I have read about web design over the years).
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  18. #143
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    I find the grey on white extremely annoying and I'm not some great designer or anything. If I go to a site and there's some long article that is in grey, I try to use firebug to make it black. Black text on on white background is far easier to read than grey on white.

  19. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by dax702 View Post
    I find the grey on white extremely annoying and I'm not some great designer or anything. If I go to a site and there's some long article that is in grey, I try to use firebug to make it black. Black text on on white background is far easier to read than grey on white.
    I think there might be a misunderstanding in terms of the word grey... Are you talking dark grey like #222222 or #333333 or are you talking about light grey like #999999.

    I have seen sites with light grey on white like a #999999 and I agree, those are a real pain in the butt to read however the dark grey I'm talking about is just slightly off black to smooth the contrast a bit. It's usualy a #222222 or a #333333 and shouldn't really appear to be grey unless it is compared directly to black text.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  20. #145
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    I like it, I think it works very well...

  21. #146
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    it can be readable if you're a resourceful person with lots of ideas. like i said, just high light it.

  22. #147
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    #333 or #222 gray text is fine on a white background. Sites with light gray text (>#777) have gone almost extinct thanks to the adoption of higher screen resolutions. It's also why pixel fonts are no longer popular.

  23. #148
    Hibernator YuriKolovsky's Avatar
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    pixel fonts are no longer popular?

  24. #149
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I don't see them very often anymore. They are blocky (aliased) fonts... I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a pixel font (I'm assuming the actual font group was meant, not fonts in px units) other than in a logo.

    The smallest I've seen was this guy's (Jason Kottke) which I think was 9px tall pixel fonts (name: Silkscreen). Very very super tiny. Any smaller and they are no longer recognisable glyphs.

  25. #150
    SitePoint Evangelist happyoink's Avatar
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    There's a nifty tool on Autistic Cuckoo's site which helps with deciding if there's enough contrast.


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