Irony, Like Goldy and Bronzy, Isn’t Dead

I received a comment on one of my not-so-recent posts about the new look of this site.

A. Nonny Mouse writes…

It seems terribly ironic that a web page devoted to usability would select a background color so dark that most users cannot read the text…

Perhaps you previewed this page on some platform other than Wintel? Take a look at what IE V6 displays: Faint hen scratches on dark brown mud. :-(

“Most users.” Gotta love it. Isn’t a large part of one’s ability to discern color contrasts left up to the type of monitor one has? That’s not a totally rhetorical question.

I have viewed this site on a Mac (on both a desktop and laptop) with Safari, IE 5.?*, Mozilla v.?*, Firefox 0.93, and Opera 7. I viewed it on an IBM laptop with IE for XP, and that laptop has been connected to a 21″ monitor as well. On all these platforms, browsers, and monitors I have been able to view everything just fine. (With the exception of that damn white line that floats at the top of the main page only in IE for XP.) I don’t have access to anything else.

If the contrast isn’t good enough for you, let me know. This is, after all an iterative process. I chose these colors because I like them. I can read it just fine. I realize that the previous sentence is the same as, “works on my machine,” but I only have me to rely upon. I don’t usability test my site, so I have to rely on the feedback of others.

Now, I may write about usability, but the design of this blog was all about design, and very little about usability. It takes me a good couple of weeks to work through a design. Partly because I really can’t see how things will look without having it live (because of the Typepad code).

Anyway, this isn’t software that is being produced for users. This is a blog. If I really wanted to follow total usability “rules” I would have a white background with black text and I don’t feel like doing that.

Thanks for the comment, O person who doesn’t wish to be known. I know that reads sarcastic, but I do appreciate the feedback. In fact, I love getting people’s feedback on this site. However, I don’t think enough people actually come to the site to allow for much feedback at all. I know a lot of people read my posts through feed readers, so the design probably doesn’t matter to them.

*I cannot recall the versions right now.

5 replies on “Irony, Like Goldy and Bronzy, Isn’t Dead”

  1. I am making changes, as you can probably see. I still want to keep the coffee theme (until the next time I get the urge to change) so the colors used are essentially the same, just used differently. There are also some things that I still want to update and that will come over the next couple of days.

    Please continue with your feedback. Your feedback is as close to usability testing as this site will get.

    Thanks also to those who gave feedback via email.

    My apologies also for the snippy tone of the post above. Bad day at work which I should not have taken out on my readers (no matter how many of you there are).

  2. Well it is too dark.

    Try this tool to see for yourself:

    When I tested your site it stated:

    The difference in brightness between the two colours is not sufficient. The threshold is 125, and the result of the foreground and background colours is 90.

    The difference in colour between the two colours is not sufficient. The threshold is 500, and the result of the foreground and background colours is 240.

    BTW: This test is based on W3C’s “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines”

  3. The lighter background color is better. Reading the comments, though, I find the dark brown bar to the left very distracting. Maybe something as simple as a bit more left margin on the text would help that. Not entirely sure.

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