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What Font Color Is Best For Eyes?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the blue-definitely dept.

Medicine 702

juraj writes "What font color and what background is best for the eyes, when you work for a long time? I have found various contradictory recommendations and I wonder if you know about any medical studies on this topic."

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702 comments

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Great Blazing Colors (5, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008062)

Yellow on red [jwsmythe.com] seems like a very popular high contrast color combination for several years.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (5, Funny)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008106)

I remember that from Windows 3.1. I think they called it hotdog stand.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008168)


Ok, that post was for fun. :)

For my shells, that I stare at for hours, I use:

green on black

yellow on black

white on black

It's usually green on black. I use yellow on black for special shells (like when I'm using a lot of shells with cssh). Putty defaults to white on black, so when I'm stuck in Windows land, that's it.

Any shells that default to black on white, I switch immediately. It's not so bad in a web browser, but there's something about a shell and typing in it that hurts my eyes. It could be that I'm concentrating that much more on the text on the screen, since it's usually fast data. Like, tail logs on a busy server, or run top with a refresh of 1 or 0. I catch details that other people don't even notice on their machines.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (0, Redundant)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008318)

i certainly agree with the green on black. intentionally or not, they certainly got ease of reading right back then.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008350)

white on black

Look more like an interracial porn movie

Re:Great Blazing Colors (5, Interesting)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008212)

I'm using Zenburn-like themes for quite sometime now and I find it pleasant to look at. (on the screen and not on paper, I just apply another theme if I want to print preview it)
http://slinky.imukuppi.org/zenburn/ [imukuppi.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenburn [wikipedia.org]

Re:Great Blazing Colors (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008294)

The only correct style [timecube.com] is random colors of random sized fonts. Everything else is stupid and evil.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (1)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008316)

I finished reading it 5 minutes ago, ad my eyes still hurt.

Re:Great Blazing Colors (-1, Troll)

hgriggs (33207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008414)

There's only once answer to this. Black text on white background, motherfuckers. We've been reading shit this way for hundreds of years for damned good reasons. We've evolved to suit this. Any other perversion of colours is just a bunch of whiny little gay folk experimenting with gay colours because they think it's cool. Black text on white background - it's the only way to go.

Eye-friendly color combination (5, Funny)

GMThomas (1115405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008064)

Background :#FFFFFF Text: #FFFF00

Re:Eye-friendly color combination (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008176)

LOL!

That's yellow on white :)

Re:Eye-friendly color combination (2, Funny)

GMThomas (1115405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008252)

Alas, it was a sarcastic statement ;)

Re:Eye-friendly color combination (2, Interesting)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008262)

Nah...Bsckground: FF00FF Text: 7FFF00. Blink helps, too.

Re:Eye-friendly color combination (1)

GMThomas (1115405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008308)

Don't forget to throw in your h1 and marquee tags :D

Combination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008072)

Puse, turd brown, and neon pink faded together all 90s like.

White on white (5, Funny)

NuclearKangaroo (768480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008074)

I've been saying this for years, but no-one's paying attention, apparently...

Re:White on white (0, Redundant)

thomasoa (759290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008384)

Because you've been 'saying it' on white-on-white text.

I am and because of that (5, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008494)






Colour? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008076)

When you work with computers for long periods of time, the colour of the font is nothing compared with taking regular breaks. Look out the window. Go for a walk. Make some tea. Bump up the font size. Get a bigger monitor and put it further away.

You are focusing on a tiny, tiny, tiny piece of the problem. There are almost certainly a ton of ways in which you could reduce eyestrain by gigantic amounts in comparison without bothering with something as trivial as font colour.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008128)

Save your eyes and your wrists. I vote strongly for "take a walk", especially this time of year when it's starting to get nice and warm outside. It certainly helps me collect my thoughts, and it's a bit of exercise.

Re:mod parent up (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008274)

I vote strongly for "take a walk", especially this time of year when it's starting to get nice and warm outside.
In what country?

Correct, also calibration and slashdot circa '01 (2, Informative)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008250)

The parent is correct. Calibration of a monitor can help nicely too as described in this post: http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=21627&cid=2302809 [slashdot.org] as slashdot covered this exact topic quite a lont time ago: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/09/14/1516207 [slashdot.org]

Refresh Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008346)

One of the most important things that I think is overlooked too often on the "old" CRT monitors is refresh rate. Windows XP (Anyone know about Vista?) defaults to a refresh rate of 60 Hz - a rate that is well within our ability to see (and get a headache from if we're not careful). I've found that refresh rates above about 75 Hz save a significant amount of eyestrain.

Of course, with LCD monitors, this is no longer an issue.

You gotta explain for us Americans... (5, Funny)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008356)

Gray is a color, grey is a colour.

Re:Colour? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008366)

You are focusing on a tiny, tiny, tiny piece of the problem. There are almost certainly a ton of ways in which you could reduce eyestrain by gigantic amounts in comparison without bothering with something as trivial as font colour.

Indeed. I'm surprised the poster didn't consider increasing the font size and/or switching to a high-resolution, anti-aliased font. While you may get a smidge less screen space out of it, just increasing the font size can do wonders for your eyes and focal system.

Blue on Black (1)

AhNewBis (42974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008080)

I always found blue on black to be relatively painless in very low light conditions.

Re:Blue on Black (1)

rriven (737681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008164)

I always found blue on black to be relatively painless in very low light conditions.
I agree http://www.bungie.net/ [bungie.net] Is the best color combo I think.

My eyes hurt when I browse a different one after bungie.

Re:Blue on Black (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008432)

Second that. I use a light blue/teal/green/gray on black/dark gray for all my coding. My supervisor hates it cause it's hard for him to read, but that's not why I do it. It's just easier for me to read blue/green on black. I rarely use red hues unless I need to notify myself of something (coding errors, etc.)

I just wish it was easier to select a "dark format" desktop and have everything read my local system settings for colors. I tried at one time, but I got so sick of web pages with white images for backgrounds disturbing my dark reading bliss.

Re:Blue on Black (2, Interesting)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008462)

I seriously I always thought, Word Perfect's old combination white on blue was the result of such sort of study, and was included in Word for several years.

I normally try to set my windows to either white (or gray) on blue (or black). I increase the bright of the foreground depending of how light is the background (i.e. if I use light blue for background, I put white as foreground, but I use gray if the background is dark blue or black, the reason to pick each, depends on the flexibility of the editor for modifying colors when they have sintax highlight).

Yellow on blue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008084)

First post?

Easiest (5, Funny)

kdogg73 (771674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008086)

Like my porn, it's black on white.

The best colors are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008090)

red text on a black background. I guarantee it.

#000000 (2, Insightful)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008096)

Black background; font in black.

You know what? Just turn the monitor off and go look at something with depth-of-field.

Classics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008098)

Once you go black you never go back.

FRIST PO!5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008104)

Viva hoon loon.

How about a survey??? (1)

tminick (888549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008108)

Sounds like a most excellent survey topic! Old school green or amber on a black background rule...

Just to go for the first post... (1)

Yoweigh116 (185130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008110)

I'm a big fan of black on white.

Re:Just to go for the first post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008146)

Black on white violence?

If I'm looking at a screen for a long time (1)

carnivorouscow (1255116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008114)

I find a black background with white or green text easiest on my eyes.

Not color (4, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008120)

Brightness is the best control for eye strain. I usually lower the brightness to it's minimum and adjust the contrast accordingly. Less light lowers the strain to me.

Re:Not color (2, Informative)

jthill (303417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008446)

Seconded. Monitor at 50-60% bright, color temp at D50. Give your eyes a while to adjust (as in, give the cramps a while to subside), maybe a day or two.

I've still got my decent CRT from ... 1998? 1998. Black-on-white for documents, green-on-black 10pt Courier for terminals, syntax coloring is ok mostly. I miss the layout tweaking I could do on Apple's Terminal; line- and letterspacing with sliders let me get my setup Just Exactly Right. It matters.

Magenta on cyan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008122)

Wrapped in the all-to-important BLINK and MARQUEE tags.

1995 www ftw.

Yellow on Blue (1)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008126)

Yellow, becuase your eye is built to see the light of the sun ( same spectrical response ...), and blue is the complementry color, its the best combination!

Re:Yellow on Blue (2, Interesting)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008450)

Yellow, becuase your eye is built to see the light of the sun

This will evidently come as a surprise to you, but the light of the sun is WHITE. That's why we call it "white light".

Re:Yellow on Blue (1, Insightful)

protonics (1269744) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008468)

The eye actually has more blue receptors than anything else. This explains why it is the most popular favourite colour. This isn't that stupid of a question as others have noted. Although I agree that taking breaks, moving the monitor back, etc...are stronger factors, it is likely that there is some sort of optimal colour scheme for optimal ease of reading. For cognitive neuropsychological reasons however, I think that black text on a white background makes it easiest for edge receptors to detect the character edges and thus begin the whole process of reading.

wtf (1, Informative)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008132)

A specific background and color? That's gay. I like the internet the way it is right now: every site has a different color combination. If I had to look at the same one the entire time because some science dudes said it was good for my eyes, I would perform a death ray attack on them.

Re:wtf (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008298)

Being slashdot, I just assumed we were talking about consoles. I almost never have to look at a web page for a long period of time, but I do have to look at a text editor for hours at a time.

Why, Pink of course (4, Interesting)

vivin (671928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008134)

Like here [userstyles.org] .

It sounds like sucking up... (1)

Canosoup (1153521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008136)

But I find that Slashdot's color scheme is the easiest on my eyes.... aside from the large blinking ads every once in a while.

oh yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008144)

nigger brown on cracker white...

well, thats the way all the buck niggers want it.....

Green or Yellow on Black (2, Informative)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008154)

Green on Black
Green is right in the middle of our visible spectrum which makes it the easiest for our eyes to pick up.
As for which is healthiest for the eyes, probably listening to an audio-book version of the same text...

Re:Green or Yellow on Black (1)

Calculust (833735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008372)

I don't buy this. Just because something is in the middle of the spectrum doesn't make it easy to pick up. After all, 10KHz is in the middle of the human auditory spectrum, but thats easiest to hear. 4Khz has the largest frequency response, because that's the typical range of the human voice. It's based on what you NEED to see/hear frequently, not what's in the middle. Also, human response is typically a logarithmic thing, rather than linear.

Re:Green or Yellow on Black (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008456)

The light from the sun is mostly green, and accordingly our eyes have evolved to pick up green particularly well.

Re:Green or Yellow on Black (1)

PO1FL (1074923) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008464)

I don't buy this. Just because something is in the middle of the spectrum doesn't make it easy to pick up. After all, 10KHz is in the middle of the human auditory spectrum, but thats easiest to hear. 4Khz has the largest frequency response, because that's the typical range of the human voice. It's based on what you NEED to see/hear frequently, not what's in the middle. Also, human response is typically a logarithmic thing, rather than linear.
That's why, IIRC, red is seen the easiest. I'm not sure if red is the best color to use to reduce eyestrain, however.

Re:Green or Yellow on Black (0)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008476)

I think if you are using a CRT monitor (anyone still doing that?), green on black would be best from a radiation (not the mutant-producing kind but probably also not very good) perspective, since black is nothing being emitted and green, due to our eyes being most sensitive to it, shows up as brighter per unit of radiation, allowing you to turn down the brightness and get the same effect as another color at full contrast.

A little more info please. (2, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008156)

There are so many variables to this.

  1. What medium are we referring to? CRT monitor, LCD monitor, printed matt page, Hi-gloss paper?
  2. How much ambient light is there?
  3. What type of ambient light is there? Incandescent, fluorescent, halogen...?
  4. What is 'a long time'?
  5. Who are we talking about? A 7 year old child, a 30 year old office worker, a 50 year old proof reader...?
Answer those questions and we won't all be shooting in the dark.

Re:A little more info please. (0, Offtopic)

lear1 (1265588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008398)

There are so many variables to this.

  1. What medium are we referring to? CRT monitor, LCD monitor, printed matt page, Hi-gloss paper?
  2. How much ambient light is there?
  3. What type of ambient light is there? Incandescent, fluorescent, halogen...?
  4. What is 'a long time'?
  5. Who are we talking about? A 7 year old child, a 30 year old office worker, a 50 year old proof reader...?
Answer those questions and we won't all be shooting in the dark.
A few more important questions--- Are you sitting or standing? Wearing designer glasses or cheaters? Are you within at least 500 feet of the screen? Are you drunk or sober? Are you Obese or anorexic ?(obese people sit further away and need bolder colors-anorexics sit closer and need softer pastels) etc... Just Funny Stuff [slashdot.org]

Re:A little more info please. (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008484)

Um. Are you really saying that there's a different color scheme for each of these factors? That's a bit arrogant. Human Factors study is really, and the answer to the proposed question does exist. I go with the following, based on several different studies: Dark Blue on White scores the highest, but Black on White comes in close second. A San-Serif font is easiest to read on screen. A Serif font is easier to read in print.

Black on Green (1)

ivanwillsau (709482) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008170)

I use black on green but I have a specific problem with my eyes (the name of which I cannot remember).

I have been told that it basically comes down to contrast. If you have too higher contrast then it is hard to read and the highest contrast for your eyes is meant to be black on yellow which I personally find nearly impossible to read.

Re:Black on Green (3, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008332)

I'm totally with you, except the other way around. Green text on black background works great for me, feels like an old-school terminal. Especially great when I'm coding late at night when the lights are off.

#000000 on #CCCCCC (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008180)

Black on light gray works well for me.

Red On Black (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008184)

Black is, of course, easy on the eyes, and Red does not effect your night vision, so I imagine this is the best combination. I have tried it, and I really like it.

easy answer (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008186)

i find bright red letters on a bright blue background to be quite soothing. try it sometime, i promise you will thank me

Re:easy answer (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008362)

AHHHH!!!!

Everything in moderation. (1)

Ristol (745640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008190)

I don't know about any medical or scientific studies, but I'd say that moderation is the best approach! Not too bright or too dark, colors that aren't too close to each other, etc.
Of course, the exception to all that is good old black on white.

Don't you mean what colors? (1, Troll)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008196)

Personally I prefer a black background, large (14+ point) bold font, and syntax coloring with every color of the rainbow above #999999. The colors and contrast help keep my eyes interested on the average 11+ hours per day in front of the (LCD only) screen. The black background helps prevent eyestrain.

Re:Don't you mean what colors? (1)

seinman (463076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008396)

I've always found that a light color on a dark background leads to MORE eyestrain. Whenever I read for a while under such conditions, I start to have trouble focusing on the words. Then, when I look away from the screen, all I see are contrasting lines of color and i'm unable to focus on anything for a few minutes. I think there's a technical term for that (something about burning? or maybe after-image?), and it's definitely annoying. I can only read for longer than five minutes if it's black letters on a white or lightly colored background.

Bright BLUE on vibrant RED ... (5, Funny)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008204)

... then shake the monitor.

Clarification needed (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008206)

What is "best" will clearly depend upon what criteria you consider. Are you talking about a combination that is teh least likely to lead to damage to the eyes, the combination which causes least pain while reading, or the combination that is most comfortable? Does psychological factors count? Is your userbase young, old, mixed? I would imagine the answer could differ depending on these cases.

The only thing I can tell for certain is that the claim that looking at black on white text on a screen is like starring into a light bulb is complete nonsense, and it is very easily confirmed that the two are nowhere near the same by simply looking into a light bulb ( thou it is probably best to limit such experiments in order not to damage your eyes ). While your pupils can somewhat adjust for the incoming light, starring into a light bulb at short distance will almost certainly overwhelm your eyes with light, while looking at the computer screen does not.

The fact that a computer screen emits light does not in itself mean it will be "brighter" than a paper. It can as an example be very difficult to read some LCD screens outdoors because the relatively faint light they emit is completely drowned by bright sunlight reflected off it's surface. Now, while it may or may not be true that it is "not good" to have all light coming from only one place in front of you (which would appears to suggest having a lit computer screen in a dark room is bad ), this could be easily avoided by simply adjusting the surrounding illumination and screen brightness, and I find it very doubtful that there is much a web designer can do to optimise his webpage for every single situation since users will change the brightness and contrast of their monitors.

As a pure guess, I would imagine that weather your color scheme is familiar, if your font is large enough, and the reader's "taste" has a much greater impact than most physiological effects, and thus I would recommend a black on white color scheme with a clear simple font of sufficient size. Most people find it acceptable, and there is as far as I know little evidence that it should be troublesome.

a serious response... (5, Interesting)

unfunk (804468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008216)

The human eye is naturally lazy, and likes to look at things that do not cause it to send strong signals. To that end, a black background is essential for "easy on the eyes" formatting. From there, pretty much any light colour can be use for the text.
When I was in uni, I used to buy special black paper "visual arts diaries" and write my class notes using a gold, silver, bronze, or plain white ink pen. This had the effect of making my pretty poor handwriting easier to read for most people, and also reducing the effects of my dyslexia; I would make less errors like inverting a series of numbers as I wrote them down and the like.

Depends on the environmental light (2, Interesting)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008222)

For different working environment, e.g. with different "general background" color/brightness, you may need different color combination.

Well, nothing could prevent the eyes' fatigue if you keep on looking at the screen too long.

When Colors Attack (1)

lear1 (1265588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008242)

Depends on the viewers eyes and the sex of the reader men like black and white-women like pinks and soft colors. Animals don't matter they are generally color blind and don't use computers too much. Hilarious Pictures In Color [slashdot.org]

LCD/CRT (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008246)

IMNAE, but it seems to depend on whether you are using a CRT or an LCD.

If you are using a CRT, Bright green text on black background seems best - You want a dark background to lessen the flicker, and the green gives you the best contrast.

However, you also want to minimize the contrast of the screen with the background (i.e. the wall). LCD's have no flicker, so an off white with a slightly off black may be best...

On the other hand, maybe with a LCD, white background and black text is best.

I've been wanting to know the answer to this question for a long time, and from my internet research, the above is the best I can find.

Well at least we're all on the same page (3, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008264)

...because none of us have RTFA - as there isn't one.

I have found various contradictory recommendations...

Err, that's nice. Where's the links?

old school (1)

transonic_shock (1024205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008266)

I like darkslategrey background and wheat foreground. It used to be the default in emacs-x11 years ago. I have since adopted that for most of my text editors. Also, for terminal I prefer phosphorus green on black background. Both of these are pretty easy on my eyes. Equally important for me is the terminal fort and the text editor font. After years of experimentation, I have settled on the Proggy programming fonts. They are perfect for me.

Wheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008268)

I live in emacs. These are the settings I use.

(background-color . "grey20")
(foreground-color . "Wheat")
(cursor-color . "Beige")

I prefer black on light gray (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008270)

I have experimented with many color schemes on several websites I run, which tend to be very text-intensive. I've found I prefer black on light gray. Click the link in my sig for an example.

Answer: Whatever makes you feel the best (5, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008272)

I'll chime in as a physician.

I always wondered in medical school what causes eyestrain -- your mom probably told you "don't read in poor light," but since the photons are easily sufficient to give an image on your retina, this didn't make sense to me.

It turns out that your eye muscles have a difficult time obtaining a rapid and precise focus with poor light, which gives less contrasts on the edges that are detected for sharp focus. In low light conditions, the eye muscles are rapidly focusing back and forth, and these micro-contractions can fatigue them similar to the other large muscles of your body. As an analogy, imagine walking on level ground versus on a balance beam. You are constantly contracting different adjustment muscles to walk on a balance beam, using more energy and promoting fatigue.

So, in answer to your question, you would want a high-contrast color scheme to make it easy for your eyes to focus on the letters. "Duh," I hear you say.

Next, I would recommend minimizing the difference in brightness between your monitor and the outside environment and its background. That is, in a dark office have a dark monitor, and in a bright office, a bright one. Why? Well, same reason -- your eye muscles have to dilate your pupil every time you look away from a bright monitor to a dark monitor. More contractions / adjustments -> more fatigue. Not only that, but the high brightness contrast will give ineffective normalization of light across the eye receptors and could cause headache.

Regarding your study question -- difficult to fund, and difficult to accomplish. I guess you would have to divide several hundred office workers, and try to have them work the same hours under same conditions with different fonts, and then ask a subjective question regarding symptoms. It could be done, but I am not sure of any well-performed efforts that have addressed this question.

In summary, I would just choose contrasting colors that you like or find subjectively pleasing, and then keep the brightness on your monitor appropriate for ambient lighting. Also, don't forget to focus on the numerous other ergonomic factors on your workstation. I see a *lot* of people with bad backs from the workplace, but there are a lot of 80 year old secretaries that are not blind.

Cue the contempt for expertise from the anti-intellectual crowd now. :p

Re:Answer: Whatever makes you feel the best (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008406)

Cue the contempt for expertise from the anti-intellectual crowd now. :p
As a physician (i.e., not an optometrist) you are not an expert. So my contempt is for you in general (practice).

Re:Answer: Whatever makes you feel the best (1)

SkymatesQueen (1134469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008466)

I still like green text on a black background. I sit in front of a computer most of the day every day. I love the net but spend most of my time with plain 'ol text. Black text on a white background is just jaring to me after 'a while. Too harsh.

Shaunn (2, Informative)

shaunnrose (1258388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008276)

My first reaction to this was "what would Edward Tufte do?"
I found the following link discussing the topic: http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0000M0&topic_id=1&topic=Ask+E.T [edwardtufte.com] .
The article discussed the best is a dark background with a bright font, but the conversation seemed to be too "environmental" as it it depends on the viewers local light setting instead of being generally independent of any local lighting.
What if I am "forced" to operate using a light/bright background and darker contrasting font?
In my opinion, experience, and local preference I have found dark grey font as easy on my eyes. It is my opinion but I do a lot of reading online with many fonts.

myspace (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008296)

Just look on myspace, then do the exact oppersite.

Green on yellow (1)

Refenestrator (1060918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008304)

Green on yellow [sfasu.edu] , right?

When I used to work in X a lot... (1)

mark0 (750639) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008306)

I used to use Antique White on Cadet Blue. Now, its more about the color of the frames on my reading glasses.

Red Text on Black Background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008310)

The black background will be easy on the eyes, of course, and the red will not affect your night vision.

wheat / darkslategray (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008314)

This was the default for some version of emacs at one time (maybe it still is), and it's been my favorite ever since.

Wheat (0xF5DEB3) text, darkslategray (0x2F4F4F) background.

"Color" is the wrong way to think (2, Interesting)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008326)

There is no best set of "colors" for foreground/background, as evidenced by conflicting studies which tried to determine what that set was. Rather, what's important is contrast between the colors so that you can easily distinguish what you're seeing. So long as you maintain contrast, the choice of the specific colors is entirely subjective and up to you.

Depends on the individual. (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008330)

I don't think anyone can answer this absolutely, because even as people age their sensitivity degrades independently.

I've had lots of people complain they can't read my IM font because of the color, but others say it's clear as a bell.

Some people might be more sensitive to green, so yellow would stand out, but not against a light background. Others might be more red sensitive, so they can read orange on purple. But a blue sensitive person might not be able to tell much difference between the two.

I actually have different levels of green in each eye - I have trouble because some text is basically right-eye-only while the background is clear in both eyes. I can see the color fine, but it's like staring through a thin object and seeing it in both eyes, but at different places - the text is transparent.

I think the only answer is black and white, because otherwie you're depending on color sensitivity of the individual, and hoping the audience is not colorblind. Which is the foreground kinda depends on which takes more energy to produce. I prefer white text on a black background, but have never had good results on a CRT.

Green text on yellow, italicized times new roman! (1)

benxmy1234 (1269740) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008334)

According to a metalink article I just dug up (http://www.metalinkltd.com/?p=91), there's a study that shows italicized green times new roman text on a yellow background showed the fastest response time and black on gray was superior to black on white. The issue is, of course, do you want your site to look like military camo...

White on black (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008338)

Must be my age having started out on the Commodore Pet back in the 70's. I always use white on a black background. Then again, I mostly use VI for programming too. I just find the expanse of white with black text to be quite wearing IMHO.

medium contrast; medium saturation (4, Informative)

Saeger (456549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008344)

If you stare at text all day long, I've found that high contrast (black on white default) and high color saturation (brightly colored syntax highlighting) is very tiring. Turning both down a notch goes a long way for extending readability.

My terminals all use a light white on dark grey scheme, and my preferred vim color scheme has been ps_color [vim.org] for quite a while. (here's a useful site for visually comparing a ton of color schemes (in iframes) all at once: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~maverick/VimColorSchemeTest/ [cmu.edu] . )

Best combo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008376)

Infrared on ultraviolet

Off-white on off-black (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008380)

I like #cbcbcb on #0c0c0c. Not quite white on not quite black. Enough contrast to read without giving you eye-strain. And it looks nice, too :)

Since you're inverting (light text on dark bg), you should probably increase the line height around 20% beyond its normal value for further readability. Remember that color isn't everything when it comes to creating readable typography.

ColorBrewer and genuine monochrome (4, Interesting)

xixax (44677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008404)

ColorBrewer http://www.colorbrewer.org/ [colorbrewer.org] has some of the answers. It will tell you about how well human eyes will be able to discern a colour scheme on various devices. It won't say much about the effect of staring at a particular colour scheme for hours.

I loved my 21" Eizo greyscale monitor. As a monochrome monitor, it had no colour gun registration issues and the text was razor sharp. It also supported 1600 x 1200 at a time when most people aspired to own a 1024 x 768 17" CRT. That is, the design and quality of the output device is also important for long term eye friendliness.

Word Perfect 5.1 or xterm (3, Interesting)

Amigori (177092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008426)

I'm going to assume that you are looking for a referenced scientific/academic study which will tell you what's best for your eyes. And to that I have no answer. But I do have some anecdotal personal history and a few thoughts.

Call me old, but I've always preferred Grey lettering on a Navy background ala Word Perfect 5.1. At least when working on documents where graphics and colors are unimportant. I still keep Word configured that way to today. People accustomed to Black on White think I'm weird(er) for using it that way.

Or when I'm using a terminal, I usually setup a Green on Black color scheme, but Amber text would also be nostalgic. Even a shade of Grey on Black for an alternate nostalgia. SunOS was Black on Grey

My question(s) to you, what are you working on? Is it code? In an IDE or xterm? Do you have multi-color themes, like in an IDE? Or graphic design with lots of colors at once, in which a medium grey is usually standard? Working in a brightly lit, fluorescent bulb cubicle, an office with natural light, a basement with incandescent lights, or a dark room lit only by the neon/led/ccd bulbs of your case mods? These variables could effect your decision as much as anything else.

I think the best way for you to figure it out 'scientifically' is to come up with 5-10 combinations, try them each day at work for 1-2 weeks, and record your thoughts in a journal every hour or so. "Is this comfortable to look at? How's my eye strain? Can I reliably read what I'm doing? etc." Then pick your 2 favorites and try them each for a week straight, again making notes. Then decide on one. You can find what works for you over the long hours. I'm certain that my preference is different from yours. Obviously, you'll need to pick colors with higher contrast to each other, as Lime Green text on a Lemon Yellow background would probably be a difficult setting to get much done in.

I've found that (1)

iq in binary (305246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008434)

Grayish green on black is the best. Black is a necessary background if you want to prevent eyestrain. Grayish green is great because it has enough contrast with black as to be quite visible, but not so bright as to hurt after extended periods of time.

The bright neon green of Commodore days isn't quite the shade you want to look for, go for something that looks like a light-green gray so to speak.

I have a couple of friends that have tried my configuration and now swear by it. The added benefit of the text still being visible if you have transparency on for the background (Anybody remember E?), no matter what you have going on behind it. Well, I mean, you COULD have a background on the desktop that is comprised of the exact same shade of green, or a window open in GIMP with the same shade in backfill for that layer, but probably not. Black or white can't do that, and all the others that can are quite annoying, such as yellow or neon red. A nice, mellow, grayish shade of green is an excellent compromise between contrast and readability.

I welcome any to try it for a week and then personally message me to tell me they don't swear by it themselves. Color blind or visually challenged need not apply ;)

depends, but dark. (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008436)

I used two different styles but I ALWAYS keep coming back to this for my terms;

xterm -bg black -fg yellow -fn 9x15 &

xterm -bg black -fg green -fn 9x15 &

copy & paste for easy examples.

Attention Slashdoters.. try reading the request! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23008440)

Obviously the green bg, with white in slasdots font is not effective...

the dotter asked for FONTS

id suggest :

Lucida Sans

ClearType has sub-pixel resolution (1)

kipb (529703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008472)

For flat-panel displays, black-on-white (or w/b) lets you use sub-pixel resolution, as in ClearType http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ClearType [wikipedia.org] This would seem better than some other color where you couldn't use the little RGB subpixels as effectively.

Many people have color-blindless ... (2, Insightful)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23008480)

When determining the "ideal" text colors for a website, one needs to take into account that many people have color blindless.

Furthermore, simply choosing contrasting colors won't work - ie. red on green is bad, red on blue is bad, etc.

With that said, some of the color combos mentioned, such as black/white or green/black often work well - easy to read by most all people.

Ron
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