Re: Readability - CD/web site

Subject: Re: Readability - CD/web site
From: "Prashanth Menon" <prashanthv -dot- menon -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 12:42:15 +0530

I have been recording for a television program during the last few weekends.
Until now my knowledge on light vis-a-vis readability was limited to books
and websites. The recording activity taught me how surrounding light
influences the selection of font color and background color.

On the first day of my visit to the media research center, I was shown to
the production room. The setting was dark and the production room had two
men (a cameraman and a production engineer), a monitor facing upwards, a
plain glass resting on a tripod stand behind the monitor and slanting at 60
degrees to the monitor, and a camera behind the plain glass wrapped in black
cloth. About five feet in front of this setup was a table and chair. Cold
sweat formed on my forehead as I was ushered in. Dust filled the air as I
placed my book on the table.

From where I was seated I could see the icons on the 15-inch monitor;
however, I could not tell one icon from the other though they were unique
and differently colored. I loaded my presentation slide and opened it. Now
instead of a pale green desktop screen I could see the power point slide
reflected off the plain glass hiding the camera from my view. The 42-inch
font was loud and clear on the white background but each line had only three
or four words. Even as I was wondering how many times I'll have to scroll
the pages to get to the end of the presentation, the production team decided
to test their lighting system. Four flash lights illuminated bright light on
my face from all directions. I could barely see anything in front of me.
When my eyes finally adjusted to the surrounding bright light, I understood
why the production manager had been insisting that I should prepare my
presentation using the template he had sent.
The template used a bluish-black background with Arial - 36 point size. On
an average, six words fit comfortably per line and more lines per screen.
This allowed me to chunk more words to form logical, though fragmented,
sentences and pace my speech more comfortably. I sat there porting all my
presentation content on to this template. In the end the rework was worth
the effort and the first recording was done without hurdles.

Aside from this quirky compulsion, I don't like using light text on a dark
background. Initially, this was an annoyance and matter of choice. Over
time, this has developed into a habit.


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RE: Readability - CD/web site: From: Blount, Patricia A

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