Friday, February 05, 2010

Readability

I have made a new design, new colors really, for my nudie site Domai.com. I'm pleased with it, and it seems most others are too, but a few people have mailed me and told me that the new colors, dark blue text on light grey background, is harder to read than the old color, which had a very light yellow background.

Examples: before:

After:
I don't get it, because I care a lot about readability myself, and to me, dark blue on light grey is one of the most readable combinations. (Black text is better, but not significantly.)
Does anybody know why this should be so for some people, and how many it might affect?

Update: one of my readers wrote:
Now I know that you don't set a specific font size (I should have checked the source) I increased the font size in my browser and the text became quite readable. This has highlighted a problem I never knew existed in Google Chrome. Although the default font size was set to 16pt, which should be bigger than I prefer, the font was actually rendered at 8 or 9 points, which is what made it difficult to read.

Indeed GC makes very tiny text.
And most text can be enlarged in the browser, which has enormous influence on readability.
(And again I'll mention "Readable app" for easier reading on the web.)

(Update: I have just made the background graphic a shade lighter. I actually like this better.)


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Textured light gray. Just saying.

http://bit.ly/cgL93F

Bruce said...

Most displays are set up with a light blue tint to them. This is called a high color temperature and it makes monitors easier to sell. The same principle is used in laundry detergent, where a light blue dye makes clothes look whiter.

Light gray on a display that is adjusted with a lower color temperature will look like light blue on most other displays. For a reality check, try calibrating your display at 8500 or 9500K and see how the pages look then.

Anna said...

I tried checking the site, was curious.

I liked the sunny side of the yellowish backgroung, but this is nice too.

I tried reading... And I got a headache, but it is just because I forgot I should not read these days, because I have had headache. So I cannot give you valuable information on the readability. Sorry. I tried.

(I can write, I don't have to look at the screen too much. :-)

But as you wrote that Nude day is on the 6th of february... What a joke !!!!! It is about the coldest day of the year !!! No danger that anybody would walk out really nude... :-)

Robb in Houston said...

Eolake: I like the new design decision. The slight blue tone of the background makes the text stand out - and the blue tone of the text is easier to read and more professional looking than the 'sunny' yeller design.

From a commercial printer perspective, the warmer colors might be good to use 'season' based, but the overall professional look should be a standard.

And - PART of the design of the site is indeed important to all others.

If you have a headache, take something so your fabric softener smelling clothes don't conflict with the color balance of your iPOD speaker cables and interfere with the gray scale laying beside the rubber ducky in the corner, which may or may not actually be yellow, based on what brand of detergent you use, and whether the headache medication contains salicylic acid.

Kevin said...

...Extrememly readable, my eyes aren't too good (I use reading glasses) so I'm immediately aware if test isn't legible.

Unknown said...

Look at the contrast Eolake? The former has more contrast than the latter?

Contrast is essential for ease of reading

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

That's true, but you can have too much contrast too. Whenever I can (email and the "Readable App") I personally adust the background to light grey instead of white.

That's a personal thing, but to me at the very least, light grey should not be significantly worse than white. I am guessing it is a matter of personal perception. For example, due to my astigmatism, white on black is unpleasant, but apparently it's not for most people.

Monsieur Beep! said...

Like Anna said: the yellowish looks warmer, and at least on the small display of my iPod touch, the yellow version is more comfortable to read for my poor eyes (and they have to read through trillions of letters...).
Although the blueish version apparently has more contrast, I really would prefer the yellow background.
The design of your website has been nearly perfect so far.
Ahem, random fact: as long as my poor eyes can relax upon the beauty of your models I'm happy with the text haha.
Greetings.

Monsieur Beep! said...

Ah, an amendment here:
the green quotation text which you're using here in this blog is very easy to read and comfortable for the (my) eyes.
But you definitely can't satisfy the needs of all your audience.

Timo Lehtinen said...

The yellow background is much nicer. Mainly because it is a complement color to the foreground blue, which also means better contrast.

Anonymous said...

After e-mailing you the text you quoted, I played around with Chrome and found that no matter how you change the font settings, it makes little difference. Some searching led me to this post in the Chrome forums and by applying my own slightly adapted version of the best answer I was able to gain much better control of Chrome's default font handling.

With a sufficiently large typeface I find the blue on blue perfectly readable; however my own preference for background is slightly off-white, but towards yellow or brown, rather than blue or grey.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, this seems to be common also, judging from the choices in "Readability" (similar to Readability App).

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