Human-factors suggestion: avoid using colored text



  • The reason being that many people don't perceive color well, some don't perceive certain colors at all, and no one perceives colors well that have low contrast, such as blue against black.

    To have a chance of perceiving colored text, the background has to offer sufficient contrast, but not "vibrating" contrast such as red/blue which, because of the physiology of our eyes, is stressful to look at.

    Getting enough contrast to perceive varied text colors requires about a 50% grey background.  But using a grey background cuts down the contrast for all colors, making the text hard for people with aging eyes or other visual limitations to read.  (To work on a problem I'm having getting snort to run, I've had to set up my own terminals with a 50% grey background -normally they're set to black- and it's visually tiring)

    Rather than encoding meaning in color, encode it by all-caps vs caps-lower, and by bracketing the text with text chars of differing visual weight, as most programmers do in their listings:

    ##################
    THIS IS MORE SIGNIFICANT
    ##################


    This is significant



    This is less significant

    With chars used to distinguish between categories of text, the reader can choose to set up the screen to offer the best contrast for their eyes.

    (I'd be happy to make such suggestions in the bugs database if someone would give me an account.)


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