May 30, 2009

Webmasters hate old eyeballs

How else can one explain the vast number of Web sites that use teeny gray text? Today I visited a blog that had white text on a black background. I've also seen brown text on a fake parchment background.

These myopia-disdaining designers are the reason the Firefox plug-in Accessibar is my new favorite gadget.

According to Aycan Gulez at Wow Web Designs, designers like gray text better than black because it's more attractive when looking at the page as a whole. "Unfortunately, some visual designers sacrifice readability for a slight increase in visual appeal because they do not really read the text on screen," he writes. "They treat it as a large block of horizontal lines, and the darker those lines are the uglier they look."

Well, that depends on how you define "ugly." I find illegibility ugly.

I suppose my perspective is different because I've worked in print journalism so long. The publisher would chew me out if I printed news stories in gray.

If form follows function, and the function is to disseminate information, then the form should be one that allows the information to be read by the greatest number of people.

Even myopic people.

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