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"Why, oh why - blogs with black backgrounds???" Topic


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Arteis18 Nov 2012 11:37 p.m. PST

I don't think I'm alone in saying I find blogs with white font on black backgrounds really difficult to read, especially if the text is quite dense to begin with.

I really, really have to be engaged with a posting to persevere beyond the first paragraph when the background is black (or even worse, a garish colour) with a white or light font.

There is a reason most books and websites have light backgrounds, and that is ease of reading. Think about any book you can recall – the only time most of them use dark backgrounds is for emphasis boxes. But not for the main body.

So if you have a black background to your blog, could I please put in a plea for you to reconsider?

corporalpat18 Nov 2012 11:49 p.m. PST

Thank you! Those designers must have failed Art 101.

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 12:22 a.m. PST

May I ask if you find this difficult to read?

link

I haven't gotten any complaints…but I'd like to make It as readable as possible

6sided19 Nov 2012 12:28 a.m. PST

If someone has a massively long text posting then possibly, but mostly I have to totally disagree :-)

Jaz
6sided.net – Blogspot For Wargamers

evilcartoonist19 Nov 2012 12:32 a.m. PST

I can read it just fine. I reckon' there are some people and old fogies with bad eye sight who find it difficult to read reversed type (and I try to keep my text less and photos more as a compromise), but I've never received any complaints from my blog followers.

A couple minor rebuttals: Books don't use reversed type to save on ink, not on eyes. And most bloggers are not "designers," so at least try to enjoy their content if not their presentation; content is why most folks blog anyway.

StarfuryXL519 Nov 2012 12:39 a.m. PST

Black is cool, doncha know?

Besides, I don't have any problem reading black-background blogs.

BrotherSevej19 Nov 2012 12:42 a.m. PST

@Mr Harold
Your blog is actually pretty forgiving. It's not white on black… it's light grey and dark grey.

White font on black background is like watching TV in a dark room, could be too much to some people's eyes.

On the otherhand, white font on black background isn't all that good. On print media, it doesn't matter much since paper is usually off-white and books do not emit light. Computer monitors on the other hand…

Bob the Temple Builder19 Nov 2012 4:16 a.m. PST

Before she retired my wife was a teacher who specialised in dealing with pupils who had special educational needs, including those with sight problems and dyslexia.

She taught me some basic rules that are supposed to help make things easier to read:
1. Never use a font that has serifs and use a suitably sized font.
2. Use dark green letters on a pale yellow background OR dark blue letters on a light blue background.
3. Never use white letters on a black background; light grey letters on a dark grey background will look almost as 'cool' BUT will be easier to read.

I hope that this is of help.

Dynaman878919 Nov 2012 4:18 a.m. PST

Change the complaint to one about overly contrasting colors and I agree. Personally I have more trouble with the sites/blogs that use colors that do not contrast enough or use color schemes that are bonkers (one had purple backgrounds and pink text, my eyes! my eyes!)

vexillia19 Nov 2012 4:27 a.m. PST

My tuppenneth:

This is a basically a subjective whinge about the design elements people choose for their blogs. It's not about the content of their blogs. As such it may not be of general interest. If that includes you stop reading now.

bit.ly/T6toPI

--
Martin Stephenson
blog.vexillia.me.uk
amazon.co.uk/shops/vexillia
twitter.com/vexillia

I didnt do it19 Nov 2012 4:47 a.m. PST

I like black background.
Light hurts my eyes.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 5:20 a.m. PST

I have two blogs, each dedicated to a specific century of history; the 15th and 18th. To contrast the two, the 18th used a white background and the medieval one, black.

Reading this topic prompted me to take a critical look at the black background. After some time, I chose one that pleased me more.

Cheers,

dbagora.blogspot.nl

BrotherSevej19 Nov 2012 5:41 a.m. PST

On the otherhand, white font on black background isn't all that good. On print media, it doesn't matter much since paper is usually off-white and books do not emit light. Computer monitors on the other hand…

Doh! I had to be drunk when I wrote that!

Giles the Zog19 Nov 2012 5:49 a.m. PST

Totally agree with the OP.
Having formerly worked as a corporate webmaster, this echos everything I mpicked up from both the web designer community, and the marcomms people.

Black may be cool, but if you're really wanting to provide a clear message to the reader, a white or pale background with sans serif font is best.

Some of my colleagues moaned and said serif fonts were easier to read and plucked studies out of a hat to support their case. I had to point out that if sans serif fonts were difficult to read, why were road signs in sans serif ? (and why weren't there campaigns and studies showing this was dangerous and caused X number of accidents blah blah blah…)

Another Account Deleted19 Nov 2012 6:50 a.m. PST

Actually, the main impetus behind black backgrounds being "cool" is that they use less energy. That's where it started. :)

CPBelt19 Nov 2012 7:20 a.m. PST

BTW Games Workshop gamer blogs are notorious for bad designs. The kiddies love the black. They also love bad grammar and awkward sentence structures, but that is another discussion, especially since I'm not teaching this week. ;-)

Harold, the grey background is ok I guess. I really hate the translucent right-hand sidebar with the funky orange text. As it scrolls across the background image, reading the text in the bar is a real bear, especially when the text overlays the planet horizon. Unfortunately, this where my eyes tend to focus on my screen! Orange on orange-red ain't cool. wink

Scott MacPhee19 Nov 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

I have trouble wading through white text on black background. My eyes just cannot adjust. If I am interested enough in the topic, I will copy the text into a word processor and read it there.

CPBelt19 Nov 2012 7:33 a.m. PST

I have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. So what did I decide to do when in college? Become an English major! Made perfect sense to me! wink I went on to teach elementary education and have been an English professor for many years. My students pick up on my dys's pretty quickly. I tell them that if someone like me can succeed, they can as well!

She taught me some basic rules that are supposed to help make things easier to read:
1. Never use a font that has serifs and use a suitably sized font.
2. Use dark green letters on a pale yellow background OR dark blue letters on a light blue background.
3. Never use white letters on a black background; light grey letters on a dark grey background will look almost as 'cool' BUT will be easier to read.

I would tend to agree with your wife's assessment. #2 will depend on the person. For me, a blue background with pale white text works best. Some people find that green backgrounds work best, which you didn't mention. I suggest my dyslexic students buy a pack of colored transparencies, lay each color over the page, and see what color and shade works best. Of course, there are days when nothing works at all--that's when I show videos instead of teach! ;-)

BTW dyslexics like myself can read monitors (tablets) easier than print. Downside is that studies show people remember better when they read print, not screens. That is very true.

The brain is a funny thing.

CPBelt19 Nov 2012 7:36 a.m. PST

BTW. Bill, thanks for the sans serif font and whatever color green you call it brackground on TMP! Always makes reading easier for me. Many forums also use horrid color combos.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 8:04 a.m. PST

Some of the worst blogs use a wallpaper of some pictures and then place their text on top of the pix. Ugggg!

I'm not a fan of black backgrounds with white or colored font, but Mr. Harold's seems to work for some reason.

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 9:18 a.m. PST

Harold, the grey background is ok I guess. I really hate the translucent right-hand sidebar with the funky orange text. As it scrolls across the background image, reading the text in the bar is a real bear, especially when the text overlays the planet horizon. Unfortunately, this where my eyes tend to focus on my screen! Orange on orange-red ain't cool.

You know, thanks for pointing that out, It was a color from an old design change. So i'll change that right now grin

I made the change, if you guys wouldn't mind giving me some feedback:

link

Shark Six Three Zero19 Nov 2012 9:53 a.m. PST

I changed my background over the weekend. I agree that reading the text was rather difficult. My eyes just ain't what they used to be.

Arteis19 Nov 2012 9:53 a.m. PST

This is a basically a subjective whinge about the design elements people choose for their blogs. It's not about the content of their blogs. As such it may not be of general interest. If that includes you stop reading now.

Oh, quite the contrary, Vexiliia, quite the contrary. I posted the OP especially because I had gone to the blog of someone I really respect in my period, to read a posting that was about some miniatures I am very interested in. It was the sheer frustration of having to work so hard at reading his article that so interested me, that drove me to start this thread.

I'm in my 50s, and have only started wearing glasses in the last few years. So while my eyesight isn't 20/20 anymore, I'm not someone with a major eye or reading difficulty.

Avoiding white on black is a basic web design premise.

Of course, blogs are personal. If the owners like black or dark coloured backgrounds, or whatever other design features, that is up to them. But they do have to realise that it may put off some readers. Up top 50% may have difficulty, according to this study:

link

But if putting off a few readers doesn't worry you, then feel free to use whatever design elements you want. Especially if you feel your design is more important than your content.

vexillia19 Nov 2012 10:10 a.m. PST

Oh, quite the contrary, Vexillia, quite the contrary.

You've not spotted that the quote in my post above is from my article or have you?

--
Martin Stephenson
blog.vexillia.me.uk
amazon.co.uk/shops/vexillia
twitter.com/vexillia

kmahony11119 Nov 2012 1:58 p.m. PST

Well said that man. I made sure I went with a white background and dark grey text when designing my website. Something I learned in a web design course and browsing the web for good web design features.

Cheers
Kieran

evilcartoonist19 Nov 2012 3:13 p.m. PST

Ya know, I might be a convert. I originally chose black background to emphasize the photos (kinda like a shadowbox), but the white background doesn't look half bad (I looked at how my blog looked like with it.) I was worried it would detract from the photos, but they still look just fine. (And, of course, the text is easier to read.)

Check out my test image over at my (still as yet black-backgrouned) blog:
link

Tarty2Ts19 Nov 2012 3:28 p.m. PST

It has to be a particularly good blog for me to persist with white text on black background, I often skip over just on that alone. Not a huge fan ( sorry all you black BG bloggers out there ) …….. :)

Little Big Wars19 Nov 2012 5:03 p.m. PST

Seems an odd quibble to me…

Rudi the german19 Nov 2012 7:26 p.m. PST

Hi,
According to best practice of the worldwide leading department stores of the IADS group on online shops is a black backround attributed to premium brands and shops and sites with a white background with cheap of basic brands and content.

Sorry. That is to date the only research done as i am aware of?
Greetings

PS: please let us now talk again about figures…. Do not invade my happy place with these topics. :))))

Arteis19 Nov 2012 8:57 p.m. PST

picture

Arteis19 Nov 2012 9:40 p.m. PST

For web usability/readability advice about black (or dark) backgrounds, look at some of the following web design sites:

"… pages with black backgrounds are a very, very popular cliche. Whenever I see a black background it's like the designer is lowering his voice and saying, 'This is a cool page. I'm pretty cool, too.' To be honest, I'd say maybe 5% of the sites with black backgrounds are actually cool and almost every one of those was designed by a professional graphics artist. If you're not a pro, black's not the way to go."
(quote from the doyen of website design gurus, Vincent Flanders of 'Websites That Suck' link )

"OK, dark backgrounds might be cute but when I have to read a 2,000+ word article (and the comments under it), this makes me cry literally!"
link

"Black backgrounds are still best avoided in general web design."
link

"Here is where I disagree with those who love white text on a black background. Readability just took a huge nose dive."
link

"In spite of the striking visual impact that these dark designs can have, many designers don't know how to effectively pull them off without turning off the visitor. With a dark design comes less readability, less appeal for most readers and less opportunity for conventional design elements."
link

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 9:48 p.m. PST

Some people would rather be clever and artsy than legible.
I have no need to read such.

Arteis19 Nov 2012 9:49 p.m. PST

Nothing wrong with clever and artsy, John – IF that is your site's intention.

Arteis19 Nov 2012 11:34 p.m. PST

And if you don't believe reading white text on black is more difficult that the other way round, try this practical example. Read the text in the following link. Then click the words 'this link' near the end of that text to see the difference.

ironicsans.com/owmyeyes

Khusrau20 Nov 2012 12:43 a.m. PST

I have to agree. Black background makes my eyes hurt. If I want to read it badly enough, I normally have to Ctrl + a couple of times to increase the font size, and then the whole look and feel is ruined on most sites.

I did also work as a web site designer for a while. Black can be cool, but it needs to be either used very creatively, or not have a lot of text.

normsmith20 Nov 2012 4:21 a.m. PST

When using a black background, a 14 rather than 12 font substantially helps, as does using a light shade of grey for text instead of white.

Whatisitgood4atwork20 Nov 2012 9:52 a.m. PST

I work in advertising. White out of black is a no-no for body copy in any medium. It is perfectly okay for a six word headline.

It is not subjective. Human beings have more difficulty reading white reversed out of black than black out of white. We don't like all caps or fancy typefaces either.

altfritz20 Nov 2012 8:11 p.m. PST

The worst case is something like dark red on black! Like the old Red Box miniatures site. Never could read any of the codes!

Whatisitgood4atwork21 Nov 2012 12:17 a.m. PST

If you are into strange colour combos, including dark red on black, you are also potentially losing a number of readers who have various degrees of colour-blindness.

WNT Blog21 Nov 2012 12:54 p.m. PST

Hi, I'm also a blog owner and was thinking is my blog so difficult to read as I read it on my laptop, desktop and phone but never founf that it's hard to read?

Comments and tips are more than welcome.

Here's a direct link: wargameterrain.blogspot.be

Brian Smaller21 Nov 2012 1:07 p.m. PST

Personally I don't like white on black, but that is the least of the bad designs I have seen out there. Purple on black is a doozy.

Arteis21 Nov 2012 8:55 p.m. PST

Yep, 'Mr Wargames News and Terrain Blog', that is pretty hard on the eyes from my perspective.

As mentioned above, it won't affect everyone the same way in fact, most people will have no trouble at all. But there still is a significant group who will have to persevere to read your postings, and it is of course over to you whether you're concerned about that or not.

Hey, and Brian, I agree there are many worse sins. However, the white-on-black sin is the most common and innocently committed one.

Cheers

Roly

Arteis21 Nov 2012 10:08 p.m. PST

Oh, quite the contrary, Vexillia, quite the contrary.

You've not spotted that the quote in my post above is from my article or have you?

Heh heh, you caught me out a good one there, Vexillia!

However, it just goes to show that misunderstandings are quite easy on the internet, and also the danger of 'mystery meat links' (as Vincent Flanders of Webpages That Suck calls links that you don't know where they lead). I

mean, because I was too lazy to follow the mystery meat link in your posting, I got the exact opposite impression to what your article says!

WNT Blog22 Nov 2012 11:35 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comment and useful information. I will think about a possible change of the blog.

Cheers

Arteis01 Dec 2012 12:40 a.m. PST

I would absolutely love to read back through all the old posts on this fabulous blog – but that darned white text on the black just makes my eyes gyrate:

link

This is an example of what I'm on about – absolutely excellent content, but which drives me mad because of the sheer persistence I (and probably 3 out of 10 of other visitors) need to read it.

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