Thursday, September 18, 2008

White on black hard to read

I dislike reading white text on a black background, it blurs on me, even with glasses. Years ago I had a discussion with Mike Reichman of Luminous-Landscape (which has that color scheme). He did not budge on his claim that white on black is easier to read than black on white, apparently dismissing my experience. But I looked it up, and it is real for many people, and it seems to be related to astigmatism of the eye. Funny enough, white on dark blue (like ole time WordPerfect) is no problem.

I have not found a solution to Mike's site apart from just enlarging the text to ridiculous levels. But I just stumbled over one: at the bottom of pages is a "print" link. If I click that and dismiss the printing dialogue, I get a nice white page to read. (I've set the pages in my email program to be light grey, I find this the easiest on the eyes.)

Some people even get headaches from white/black pages.
This page has this statement: "Note: People with astigmatism (aproximately 50% of the population) find it harder to read white text on black than black text on white."


Alex said...

Funny, I was just evaluating DipTrace, a low cost CAD (computer aided design) tool. The first thing it asked was white or black background, saying black was "easy on the eyes".

hangar said...

You need zap colors. It's a JavaScript bookmarklet which sets all the text on the page to black on white (and tidies up the colours of links). I use it a lot though I often find that sites which are white on black are often rubbish anyway.

hangar said...

...and I often find that I often write sentences with too many instances of "often" and then often notice just after I've posted them which is often annoying. Sorry.

eolake said...

Often I don't even notice. :-)

Basically I find sometimes that altogether, on the whole, I probably use too many moderators, I think.

Monsieur Beep said...

An author should add a liability clause in the small print section (careful with reading white on black, black on white).
Yes folks, can't help we live in a world of liabilities and canny suckers.


"I cannot be held responsible if reading my comment causes any disturbances on your cute little eyes. USE OF GOGGLES recommended."

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

I forgot the exact mathematical formula we saw in biophysics class, but basically it said that visual contrast doesn't depend only on the brightness difference between text and background. Visual contrast is also more important when the background is the bright one. Dark over bright is always better seen.