Re. Legibility of colored text online

Subject: Re. Legibility of colored text online
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 12:54:21 LCL

Mary Fitzgibbons asked for recommendations for foreground
and background colors that produce legible text in her mail

Mary, I stick with tried and true black text on white
background. The sharpness of the letters is the best you
can get on a color monitor since there are no electron
beams to align to form the letters; in contrast, colored
letters are formed by aligning three electron beams (red,
green and blue; RGB if you prefer), which leads to fuzzy
edges sometimes. The contrast between foreground is also
usually higher than with any other colors, since white
forms from the maximum amount of all three colors (RGB) and
black from the minimum.

Some folks like reversing this to put white text on a black
background; I can't stand this personally, and find it like
reading reversed text in a magazine: too much noise, not
enough signal. YMMV! If you really like your black
background, why not try that amber/tangerine orange color
that they used to use with mainframe terminals? A colleague
once told me that the orange had been chosen for its
restful effect on the eyes; personally, I suspect that they
just chose that color because the phosphors were cheap.

If you don't need the color, consider not using it. I
prefer writing on a full-page greyscale screen (from
Radius) at home, and the only time I regret my purchase is
when it comes time to play kiddie games with my young'uns.
At work, of course, Windows is so much more attractive when
I play Minesweeper (TM?) in full color. <grin>

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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