Cheap Thrills is Back

A student happened across this blog today, and nailed me on it.

“Didn’t you tell us that light text on dark backgrounds was fatiguing to read?”

“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work on 20-somethings.

I knew when I tried that Darkwater thing that it was naughty. But something about the water compelled me. And now a combination of fatigue and public humiliation has compelled me back to Cheap Thrills, with a few mods, including a wider content area. And a rare foray into the red spectrum for the bg.

Feel like my old self again.

Music: Junior Kimbrough & Charlie Feathers :: I Feel Good Again

7 Replies to “Cheap Thrills is Back”

  1. It’s funny. In all the years I used VT style terminals, I never found them fatiguing to read, and they were inevitably green on black, amber on black, or (later) color on black (which did give me some eye strain problems, due to pooky resolution.) Can you point me at research on this?

    Clearly my website falls well into the light text dark background world. I went with the amber vt100 motif for it (inspired by the color palate of the book’s cover).


  2. @Jim: Interesting feedback. The rule about light on dark being hard to read is pretty much axiomatic in usability circles. Don’t have time to track down hardcore studies, but here’s a bunch of stuff on the subject.

    BTW, I’m joking when I call light-on-dark “naughty.” There are much worse usability sins one could commit, and clearly there are plenty of successful sites that use light-on-dark (but I can’t think of a single major news site that does – that should tell you something).

    I’d say if you’re going to do it, keep your content brief to minimize eye strain.

  3. I like it! Surely easier on the eyes.

    @jim: I still rock white on black in my terminal, and I probably look at that almost as much as websites…. maybe I should switch? Then my fiancee couldn’t complain about “the scary black box” too

  4. the most interesting link form the google list to me is this one.

    Which seems to make the point (at least implicitly) that dark-fg-on-light-bg-is-more-usable is a holdover from print. Certainly, considering the dif’s between paper and monitor, as a thought experiment, it makes much more sense that opposing usability standards (dark-on-light vs. light-on-dark) would prevail.


  5. It makes sense to have dark print on a light background the way print does, until you consider that with a backlit screen or a CRT, that white is not reflective, it’s a light source. I find my eyes get very sore with bright white background and dark print when I read for long periods of time. Now on something like the Sony Ebook Reader or the Kindle, it’s a different matter.


  6. Perhaps this endless debate contributes to why we’re seeing some designer-y sites adopting grey-on-grey color schemes, like some of the comment fields on this site, or Daring Fireball (actually that’s white on grey). And also a fair bit of grey on white (also used on this site).

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