Monday, January 07, 2008

ETC Colour Scheme

I received an email from a reader who said:

"I was referenced to your group's blog ... from a posting at ... It looked like something I would enjoy reading.
However, I simply could not because the black background and text color selection for the blog made that impossible (for my eyes at least).
I thought I would drop you a note of "criticism" (pun intended), in the hope that whoever your webmaster is could be convinced to change those background and text colors to something that is not so difficult to read.
Please take this input in the positive manner that it was intended."

Basic legibility is obviously an important issue (which has not been much discussed since our opening posts). In response to the first post on this blog (what-this-blog-is-about) I wrote:

I think a white background would be more appropriate for an evangelical blog:
  • a) more echoes of positive biblical symbolism;
  • b) better approximation to brightness of original manuscripts (both parchment and papyrus);
  • c) better reflection of the history of the Bible as a published book;
  • d) I could probably read it without squinting.

So what do you think? Is our blog illegible or difficult to read for you? Would you like a new design? Let us know in the comments.


  1. This person seems to be referring to a "black background." Are they thinking of another blog? Could they be meaning Michael Bird's blog? I think that his is very readable.

    I have never had a problem. I think that it is nice to have a page that looks a little different from others. However, if it helps people to read, then I would be fine with changing it.

  2. I do have trouble reading blogs with black backgrounds and white letters, but since your background is burgundy it was never really an issue, although the white letters do at times force me to squint. I don't see a change as necessary...

  3. I must admit your color scheme is a bit hard on my eyes. Then again, I work in front of a computer screen all day, so I may be unusually sensitive in my growing old age.

  4. I agree. Your blog is one of the more difficult to read.

  5. I personally don't have a problem with it, but I've received complaints about the same thing with my blog, and I've been thinking of changing my color scheme. I think the problem is the dark background and the light letters; this clash, it seems, is not pleasant for many folks.


  6. I think there are better color schemes that could be used. The red, white, and yellow are a bit hard on the eyes. When using a dark background, it is better to pick more subdued colors for text (ie. not bright white, yellow, etc., but more like "khaki" or less "bright" shades).

    One thing I ask is please don't go to a white background with black text. I prefer not to have my monitor blasting the entire visual light spectrum at my eyes. Therefore, black with a somewhat subdued color is best on the eyes (of course if the color is too subdued, then people complain of eye strain...hard to win with color schemes when many people are involved).

  7. I used to read your blog on somebody's CRT screen and had to zoom in to read it properly. On my current laptop (which is an inexpensive model) I have no trouble. Nevertheless I noticed that if I zoom in to 125% it's more comfortable and the content still all fits on the screen. Would it be any use for some of us if you increased the font size?

    I agree that a dark background is good. It makes a pleasant change.

    Tony Pope

  8. People can always read the post on the comments page if they want black letters on a white background.

  9. Readability in this situation will be affected by the darkness/lightness setting of the monitor. I can read the blog just fine, but if someone has their monitor on a darker setting it would probably be harder to read. Of course, you can't control that :). If you have a design that doesn't work well with a monitor set on a darker setting, you might want to consider changing the design.

    I generally do most of my reading in a feed reader. The benefit is that it gathers all my feeds into one place and I can check them all at once. It also shows all text as black against a white background which gets rid of the potential legibility problems. This may help some readers who have legibility problems. The negative is that I don't see people's designs, and some of them are nice.

  10. I think that this blog is very readable (in terms of colour and content!). Keep the burgundy!!

  11. It seems rather difficult to discern any consensus here!

  12. So you're saying the readability committee would give the conclusion on this matter a "D" rating? :)

  13. I'm sorry. That was a pretty bad joke. I'll shut up now :)

  14. Eric, I laughed. Well, chortled anyway.

  15. Have you considered getting a different blogger template? I know when I started my blog a year ago, there weren't a lot of free templates that appealed to me. But then I started doing to searches and discovered all sorts of new templates that have started cropping up. Just a thought...

  16. A lighter colour would be easier to read.

    A white background might reflect the white robes of the witnesses in Revelation.

    A black background on which your text appears, shining brightly, would reflect the public perception of biblical studies in the Christian public, and your constructive role in it.

    A blue background might bring associations of the sky of Judaea, the colour of the turbans that had to be worn by Christians in Moslem lands at certain period. It would also point to heaven, and induce familiarity for Conservatives.

    A red background might warn of the wrath to come, particularly for members of a certain left-of-centre government at the moment.

    A green background would have associations of the earth, and all those electrons that died in vain.

    A yellow background would confront the cowardice displayed towards, um, something I can't remember, honest.

    A purple background would get you banned in the USA.

    An orange background would be welcome in Ulster.