The color of text & on-screen readability

Subject: The color of text & on-screen readability
From: Melissa Hunter-Kilmer <mhunterk -at- BNA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 13:07:50 EST

On Mon, 6 Nov 1995, MJ Fitzgibbons <MJFITZG -at- WAYNEST1 -dot- BITNET> wrote:

> My two-page B&W monitor, which served me well for the last five years,
> was recently upgraded to color (YEA!). <snip> I remember reading somewhere
> that blue letters
> were the hardest to read/see. And, I'm finding that to be the case.

> So, I've been playing around with the color of the letters. They now are
> hot pink. I don't think this is any better than the blue letters.

I did some research on this a couple of years ago and found four color
combinations that are easy on the eyes, stand out well, and are easily
distinguished by those with any degree of color-blindness. May I have the
envelope please?

The winning combinations were

yellow on black
yellow on royal blue
white on black
white on royal blue

Blue on anything is supposed to be really hard to read in the long run, because
blue is a great background color; it tends to recede. So it's not good for
something you want to notice.

Color combos such as red on green (augh!) tire out people's eyes really quickly.
They are also not good for colorblind people.

There's more, but I'm sure this is enough for your purposes.

FYI, the reason I got involved in this was that my dept. was developing a new
inhouse app. The developers looked at the color palette available and did what
those with no graphics training do with DTP -- they went hogwild. So we had
quite an interesting few months before we found a standard.

It directly affected usability, and I really wanted users to be comfortable with
the project. I was the only one interested enough to find some standards, so I
did the research -- including testing it on one of the company's big bosses, who
is colorblind. My earnestness in what many thought was a foolish endeavor
earned me the moniker of Color Queen.

Royally yours,

Melissa ("Don't it make your brown eyes blue?") Hunter-Kilmer
mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com

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