Sunday 4 May

“To see, or not to see,
That is the question” (Apologies to Bill Shakespeare).


I have noticed recently that there is a growing trend by website designers to try to make the text on their pages virtually unreadable. By this I mean that by using very small fonts and lightening the colour they seem to think it’s very trendy. Trying to read light grey text on a grey background is very frustrating, especially for people like myself who suffer with a mild form of colour blindness.

man-looking

What is wrong with black text on a white background? The newspapers have been doing this ever since the Romans threw away their wax tablets and started using sharpened sticks dipped in ink and papyrus! The whole point of writing is to convey information from one person to others, and not to show off your artistic skills.
The following examples (my text) from some websites on the Internet have been reproduced here using the colours their designers decided on. The first one is acceptable, but if it was any lighter I would have some difficulty in reading it.
The original intention behind HTML was to permit academics and researchers to pass information over the WWW in a simple manner via hyperlinks. The content had a simple and basic structure without any fancy formatting. Thus, there were levels of headings, paragraph tags, simple list and blockquote tags.
This one I cannot decipher at all, and I would give up on it without even trying.
The original intention behind HTML was to permit academics and researchers to pass information over the WWW in a simple manner via hyperlinks. The content had a simple and basic structure without any fancy formatting. Thus, there were levels of headings, paragraph tags, simple list and blockquote tags.
Here’s another example I came across. Remember, these are genuine, I’ve just changed the text otherwise you might recognise the site they came from.
The original intention behind HTML was to permit academics and researchers to pass information over the WWW in a simple manner via hyperlinks. The content had a simple and basic structure without any fancy formatting. Thus, there were levels of headings, paragraph tags, simple list and blockquote tags.
Wouldn’t that last one look better like this:
The original intention behind HTML was to permit academics and researchers to pass information over the WWW in a simple manner via hyperlinks. The content had a simple and basic structure without any fancy formatting. Thus, there were levels of headings, paragraph tags, simple list and blockquote tags.
Or even like this?
The original intention behind HTML was to permit academics and researchers to pass information over the WWW in a simple manner via hyperlinks. The content had a simple and basic structure without any fancy formatting. Thus, there were levels of headings, paragraph tags, simple list and blockquote tags.
Why do they insist on using very small fonts as well? I can understand it if you are printing a book or something in order to save on paper, but on the net, you have as much space as you need without incurring any extra cost?
Yes, I know there is some small, faint, unreadable text on this site, but that is built into the WordPress template and I don’t want to cock things up by trying to alter it.
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15 Responses to Sunday 4 May

  1. Betsy says:

    I might be guilty of this. Pat Hatt is always complaining about my white text on a black background!

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    White text on a black background is fine, especially if someone is partially sighted. I must admit it’s a bit weird, but not as bad as white text on a dark “dog-poo brown” colour! You reading this, Eddie? – Keith.

    • Betsy says:

      I’m sorry! I thought the black made my photos stand out nicely. White seemed the only appropriate color for text with the black. Maybe it’s time for a change…..but only because I like you. 🙂

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      There was a comedian, Dick Emery, who used a similar phrase as a punchline in his shows. He would give a friendly push to a person and knock him/her over and say “Oooo, you are awful; but I LIKE you!”. But I don’t think you get proper comedy shows in the USA “like what we do”! – Keith.

      • Wht’s he got that I haven’t,Betsy ?
        I bet you wouldn’t change your blog style for me!!
        I am so jealous!
        What’s your secret with her, Keith?

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        Well, if you have a hour or two to spare I’ll tell you, but for starters; I’m intelligent, well mannered, handsome, patient, nice dresser, brilliant cook, hold doors open for ladies and house-trained. . . . . . My secret? I instinctively know just how to treat a beautiful woman. – Keith.

        • I stood up for a lady on the bus not long ago and she said, “I am quite as capable as standing up as you are!”

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          Are you sure you’re capable? I’m old, crippled with arthur-itis, and have to use a stick and when a young girl wearing callipers on both legs and using crutches got onto the crowded bus I offered her my seat. She looked me straight in the eye and said “It’s OK, grandad, you need it more than me”. Never was my ego so deflated as on that day! – Keith.

        • Betsy says:

          Be still my heart! I really must save my pennies for a plane ticket to earl shilton. ha.

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          The only planes that fly in and out of Earl Shilton are made of wood and canvas, and are so old that they only have outside toilets! I bet Eddie would remember them! – Keith.

          • I do remember outside toilets, Keith!! In the North of England we had them in all the houses, or gardens. A bit cold in the winter and my vitals have never been the same again. But at least you could let rip and not worry about the smell! ROFL

      • Betsy says:

        No, our humor is a little different, I think. But I do think you’re quite funny!

    • I might not have the dog poo there much longer! – I’ve been thinking of a change for a while and I’m planning on giving the place a huge clean up to get rid of all that poo. LOL

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      I can’t wait! – Keith.

      I can’t quite decide which design to choose so I am dithering a bit..

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      Only a bit? – Keith.

      I agree with you regarding the examples of text you show.

      Otherwise, how are you my old mate?
      Are you behaving yourself and if so then don’t be so boring LOL

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      Betsy doesn’t think I’m boring. – Keith.

  2. Scarlet says:

    I prefer black and white… or black and cream… I’m getting to the age where I’m starting to squint.
    Sx

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    What, at 35? You’re joking. – Keith.

  3. guyana_gyal says:

    Have you ever tried reading the list of ingredients on packages? I check to see if they have dog meat, etc…as you know, I don’t eat meat. But those packages are unreadable.

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    Tell me about it! Even my daughter, who has perfect eyesight, has to use a magnifying glass. I have to use a microscope! Trying to find the “use by date” is a nightmare too; it’s usually printed in a microscopic font, in black, on a brown lid. Grrrr! – Keith.

  4. Anji says:

    I agree. I think it’s a teen thing – to keep the oldies out. I mouse over the text. It’s perfectly readable then.

    …And what about those who sprinkle Smilies (or should it be Smileys?) though their blog posts?

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    Hi Anji, have you sorted the postcards yet? * I admit I mouse over the faint fonts too, but that is not the answer. Two online shops have lost my custom because they persist in using faint text on the pages. Smilies (smellies?)? Idiotic. As for ROFL and LOL, what’s wrong with “That made me laugh” or “I had to smile at that” etc? Even a “Ha!” is acceptable. The trouble is Anji, we are old fashioned. Even the language the teenagers use now I find difficult to understand, and they are British! – Keith.

  5. Z says:

    I was completely unable to read the label on a medicine packet recently because of the tiny print on a coloured background, and I can read the smallest print on the optician’s reading page without glasses.

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    It’s not just struggling to read the small print, it’s those blasted “childproof” caps to contend with as well. I cannot undo them, so I have to go to the door and wait for a passing child and ask them to undo it for me; it’s no problem for them! I recently asked the pharmacist to use ordinary screw off tops because I live alone and there are no children here to mistake them for sweets. He replied that it was against European Union law to do that and he wouldn’t risk it. Now when I manage to get the top off I transfer the medication to a plastic bag for pills, and an empty soft drinks bottle for liquids. Problem solved! – Keith.

  6. nick says:

    I do agree that very faint typefaces and/or dark backgrounds make reading harder. Don’t those who do it realise how user-unfriendly it is? I can read all the examples you give because my eyesight is pretty good (with glasses) but many people would find them unreadable. Personally I find white (or yellow!) text on a black background a strain, it gives me constant annoying after-images.

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    I don’t suffer with the “after-image” syndrome so I prefer white on black rather than grey on grey. As I said, what have the Romans ever d . . . . sorry, wrong post. . . . . What is it that webpage designers have against good old fashioned black on white? Let’s hope that the newspaper industry don’t start using light grey text in order to save ink! – Keith.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I find sometimes script writing is difficult on the eyes – all depends. But what drives me crazy is the “best before” dates on grocery items. Wonder I’m not dead from eating potentially expired food. Tonight it was black writing on a dark blue bottle. Smart. I had to ask a woman near me to read it and she got out her pocket flashlight! Or torch, as you say.

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    I just had an email from eBay and the print was so small and in very faint grey. I had to use a magnifying glass and highlight the text in order to read it. After all that, itwas rubbish anyway! – Keith.

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