Web And App Designers Who Should Die In A Fire

The ones who think that it “looks nice” to use gray text and gray backgrounds. TEXT SHOULD BE FUCKEN 0,0,0 BLACK AND BACKGROUND SHOULD BE 255,255,255 WHITE.


  1. khms says

    … and I look at this very blog page and see a number of non-black-on-white examples …


    The worst I remember, back when web browsers were a new thing, was sort-of pink on black or maybe dark violet or something like that. In a small font size. And the guy who made it that way absolutely didn’t want to hear any criticism.


    Oh, and this fad of “make icons gray unless the mouse obscures the icon” combined with even slightly busy icons. Hey, I know what I mean with this icon, so obviously my users have to know it, too, and don’t need to actually, you know, recognize some unfamiliar icon …

  2. Uncle Glenny says

    Yeah, insufficient text contrast is one of the things that ticks me off. Some places like to fade it so bad I can barely read it (NYTimes did this with photo captions) especially because of the fetishization of making the text nice and tight and small and diminutive.

    And some of the new modern comment systems (facebook based? I don’t do Facebook) don’t while having contrast are too small, and don’t fking expand when I tell the browser to expand text.

  3. Trebuchet says

    Not just web and app designers. I’m a long-time subscriber to the dead-tree version of TIME magazine. Lately they seem to think it’s acceptable to put stuff in tiny type on non-contrasting background. I don’t think I’d have been able to read it even before I got old.

  4. TGAP Dad says

    Not meaning to contend your point that web and app designers who produce low-contrast text should be burned at the stake, let me point out that black-on-white while a good contrast, is not really the best. The overall design of a presentation should draw your eyes to the most relevant parts of it while making these areas as readable as possible. I you want to limit it to blocks of text, black on white is probably the best choice for the “main” portion – the body of the article or email, etc. However there are times when we net to have more flexibility, for instance where we want related but different blocks of text to be distinguishable from one another. Or times when you want some text emphasized, like a warning of dire consequences in the event of misuse, for example. There are still plenty of options that provide good contrast and easy readability – yellow-on-green is quite readable as is white-on-blue. Black-on-red is great for warnings. For what it’s worth, there is such a thing as too much contrast, like red-on-blue (or vice-versa).

  5. docsarvis says

    Are you ever going to post anything intelligent and thoughtful or will you just keep posting profane, banal rants?

  6. cactuswren says

    First of all, the Rule of Tincture still applies: Thou shalt not put color on color, nor metal on metal. Only color (red, green, blue, purple, black) on metal (white or yellow), or metal on color.

    Rule of Tincture

    Second, for blocks of text, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS dark on light. NEVER light text on dark. Trying to read light text on a dark background leaves me seeing horizontal bars in retinal image, as though I’d been looking through a Venetian blind.

  7. says

    Text vs. background contrast is a constant headache for me, due to a couple of annoying visual problems, mostly cone-rod dystrophy. Black-on-red is almost impossible for me to read, because I’m extremely insensitive to red, and thus it’s like dark-on-dark to me. I know white-on-black makes most people squint, but it’s an option I like to have; to me, light tends to overwhelm dark. My screens are set to be as dim as usably possible. I used to have a user stylesheet for Gecko-based browsers that attempted to enforce light-on-dark, and Firefox tries to implement my desktop settings in text entry widgets, but you’d be amazed to discover how many sites specify text or background colour, not both.

    Don’t get me started on websites that break using anything larger than 14-point fonts, and the lack of overall text size control in iOS.

  8. Acolyte of Sagan says

    TGAP Dad
    April 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    [………………] However there are times when we net to have more flexibility, for instance where we want related but different blocks of text to be distinguishable from one another………..

    I’m pretty sure that there are perfectly acceptable ways of achieving that without going down the colours route. Can’t for the life of me think what, though……..

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