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Web colors, with examples...
This may best be looked at on my journals page, if your LJ style mucks about with background and text colors.

My personal preference in reading text on screen is to have the maximum contrast between the letters and background as possible. If going for dark-on-light, it may be acceptable to have the light darkened modestly, but for the most part the darks should be as dark as possible.

That means I prefer black text over gray, blue over cyan, etc. when having a white or off-white background. One friend of mine consistently uses purple text in her LJ posts and comments, except when particular journal styles would make it hard to read. I find the purple works well the way she uses it, and have no real problem with it.

I have noticed, however, a growing trend on various sites to start using a dark gray for the main body text of their content. And it's not always the same gray. A number of sites use an 80% neutral gray; it appears to be the default for the Blogger software package. Scientificblogging.com boosts the lightness to a 71% gray (while also using a 4% gray as a background). WikiHow darkens things a bit with a 93% gray, while Hungry for Knowledge counters with a very light 67% gray. The Fresh Loaf chimes in with an 87% gray. Some of the darker grays look close to black.

These aren't the only shades of gray I've noticed, and I've even found a couple of sites which don't use a neutral gray, but rather colors of very low saturation (For instance, this parenthetical comment is written in a color I grabbed from FogBugz, and it's a dark but very slightly blue gray).

To me, some of the color choices are just slightly more difficult to read. When I first noticed it, my thought was that something was wrong with my monitor, as the letters looked almost blurry. For a while, I simply increased the text size in my browser (and was worried my vision might also be implicated). Then at some point I had the idea of checking what fonts they were using, as many sites use bad fonts without realizing they are bad. I was surprised and astonished to discover it was font color.

Obviously some designer somewhere decided that black text didn't look good, and would be improved by reducing the contrast with the background. Since that goes against what I thought I knew about legible design, it seems bizarre to me. I can't imagine a responsible site designer saying "Let's make this page harder to read", yet it seems to me that was the outcome of the decision. And the wide variety of sites and color choices indicates that this wasn't decided once and then copied, but rather multiple designers thought about it and made that choice.

This isn't the first time I've wondered at the font color choices in software. Anyone else remember the blue-on-light-blue color choice of the majority of word-processing software in the MS-DOS age? I still don't understand how that was considered acceptable. But maybe it was better than gray-on-white, when you think about it.

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So then, (not that it matters much because I'm changing it soon) what do you think of my layout? I think the font is too small, but it won't let me change that - and generally I think I use decent contrast.

thanks ;-D

i do a bit of web design, and i read webpagesthatsuck.com's "Daily Sucker". i think the use of colors that are slightly (or even more than slightly) "off" of standard black, white, etc., is a question of Art. people who are trained in "design" (not "web design", but art-school "design") place a lot of emphasis on making things look "fresh", innovative, unusual, new, and "artistic". however, they leave out one important factor - people have to be able to read and use the website. this leads to things like pointless Flash animations, "Mystery Meat Navigation", and color schemes that are difficult to read. artistic as fuck, but they don't do the job they were intended to do. fortunately, i have no artistic training or skills at all, so my web design is always simple ;-)

and never mind dark-blue-on-cyan - i remember when computer terminals were either neon-green or orange on black. white on black didn't come along until later. and then there was the light-blue-on-royal-blue of the Commodore-64 era. and now people are going back to green-on-black for a "retro" effect...

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