The disappearance of the background colour

A long time ago, the webs background colour was a really quite ugly shade of grey, and all was good with the world, as everyone remembered to set the background colour to what they want. Now of course the background colour is white, and no-one remembers - to remind me to always do it, and to make plain text and XML files render easier to read in my browser, I set mine to nice mellow yellow colour. This means I now see so many sites with weird colours, and not crappy little personal sites, but big corporate sites with big web budgets, but obviously no QA. Searching for “com” in google should return some of the major sites on the web today, and what do we see Yahoo without a background colour… Other sites I’ve noticed recently are citibank, AOL, EasyJet.

I’m sure many of these sites spent thousands just on the meetings to pick their brand colours, and then they go and ruin it by not setting the background white? Quite apart from the risk of people with a background colour that doesn’t play nicely with the text colours they choose.

6 Responses to “The disappearance of the background colour”

  1. Danny Says:

    Heh, well spotted. That grey was horrid.
    For legibility maybe the default should be yellow on black…Black! Black! You lock me in the cellar and feed me pins!

  2. Jim Ley Says:

    Oh yeah, yellow on black would be a good option for legibility on the XML/plain text files, but it would make so many of these sites completely unusable with black on black… So I have to go with the reverse.

  3. Elliott Back Says:

    Then again, white or near-whites are the traditional “book” printing colors…

  4. Jim Ley Says:

    Yeah Elliot, as I understand it though, reading on a screen which is backlit is different from reading on a paper which is lit from above and the pixel density is very different, which is why the colours are reversed for screen viewing legibility. I don’t believe it’s as relevant now we have higher resolution screens compared with the past though.

  5. Dougal Campbell Says:

    Heh, I made the same observation a while back.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    You have a great website. Keep up the good work.

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