Posted by: Makakai | November 30, 2010

Reading Between the Lines

So how does a beginning healer learn about their class outside of asking people in-game? Blogs, forums, and websites such as found on my blog reading list. Now, why do I bring this up? Due to some recent down time I’ve done a lot more reading of various blogs and forums.

Now, most of us read blogs through a feed reader, but if you post a picture to describe something, sometimes that doesn’t show up in the feed, so now the reader has to click over to the actual blog. When I get to a blog that has a black background it immediately gets an “x” mark in my mind and I’m a lot less likely to browse through the pages.

Any readers that have stuck with me may realize from previous posts that the usability of my UI is a big factor, and this translates into blogs and websites. What this means, is that I’m familiar with the research on text legibility and readability. You’ll notice on my own blog I try to use a single (accessibility friendly) palette. Additionally, any colored text I use is dark saturated to be almost indistinguishable from black or is a content header with appropriate text size and spacing to make it more legible.

Please will folks stop with the horrible colored (or white) text on black/dark background designs for their blogs! Using light text on a dark background, reduces the readability by 10% or more (Nielson, 2000). That means there is a LOT of empirical research demonstrating that reading white or *shudder* colored text on a dark or black background is more difficult, slower, and will produce eye discomfort for the reader.

For a good (colorful) demonstration of what not to-do see: Systems, Applications, and Products (SAP) Information

And here is a list of research to demonstrate that I’m not pulling my hair out in frustration without a reason:
Publications:
Arnheim, R., (1974). Art and Visual Perception, University of California Press, Berkely.
Bruce, M. & Foster, J. J. (1982). The visibility of colored characters on colored backgrounds in viewdata displays. Visible Language , 16 , 382-390.
Clarke, J., (2002). Building accessible web sites, Boston, MA: New Riders.
Farkas, D. K. and Farkas, J. B., 2002, Principles of web design, New York: Longman.
Coren S., Porac, C. & L. M. Ward (1978). Sensation and Perception, Academic Press.
Hall, R.H. & Hanna, P. (2003). The effect of web page text-background color combinations on retention and perceived readability, aesthetics, and behavioral intention. Proceedings of The Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), 2149-2156.
Hill, A. L., & Scharff, L. V., (1999). Legibility of computer displays as a function of colour, saturation, and texure backgrounds. In Engineering psychology and cognitive ergonomics, edited by Harris, D. (Sydney: Ashgate), pp. 123 – 130.
Jackson, R. MacDonald, L. & K. Freeman (1994). Computer Generated Color.
Nielson, J. (2000). Designing web usability: The practice of Simplicity. Indianapolis: New Riders.
Pastoor, S., (1990). Legibility and subjective preference for color combinations in text. Human Factors, 32 , 157-171
Priester, G. W. (1995). Looking Good in Color, Ventana Press.
Ridpath, C., Treviranus, J., & Weiss, P.L. (2003). Testing Readability of Web Page Colors. Aprompt Web Site.
Wichmann, F. A., Sharpe, L. T., & Gegenfurtner, K. R.  (2002).The contributions of Color to Recognition Memory for Natural Scenes”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, American Psychological Association (APA), 28(3).

Websites on the Topic:
“Hyperphysics” by Carl R. (Rod) Nave, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University (site), Section “Light and Vision” (site)
“The Joy of Visual Perception: A Web Book”, by Pete Kaiser, York University (site)
“Psychology and Biology of Perception Psyc/Biol 240” by Anne Sutter, LUC (site)
“Topics in Perceptual Organization” by Edward H. Adelson, MIT (site)

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