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"Computers are my best friends. When I help people find each other without knowing they used a computer, my best friends and I revel in our little secret!"    -Langel

 

 

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Too Much White Background to Handle o___@

Monday, April 13th 2009 9:23pm

I've had a long standing opinion that white light is more painful on the eyes than a dark screen. I've been called out before for using a 'hi-res' display on my laptop with bright orange on top of a dark, dark blue. Today, I decided to find out what others think. Unfortunately, my google queries were not necessarily creative, leaving me only to find a single person stating 'bright text on a dark screen is bad for your eyes'.

But there must be a reason I feel this way. Maybe it's dark down here. We got the light on! Ultimately, I find websites with #FFFFF white backgrounds, making my monitors scream with such luminosities, atrocious to my senses. Ok, that was a bit of an exasperation but you get the point. The White Background is akin to the styrofoam sandwich containers of yore!! =O

Do people think of their websites as sheets of paper? I get it. It's clean. It's helvetica.

I've never seen Amazon's Kindle in real life but I enjoy the design. The display you see there has no back light. You must have light to read on it! Like a sheet of paper!! Get it?!?!?

But, and perhaps at the very least, there is a morality at stake in all of this bright light fear mongering. Stop. Just stop and think about your carbon footprint and all those photon emissions aimed right at your ocular cavities!

The good people at Blackle have got the right idea == a custom google search bent on saving energy. They claim 1,183,527.829 Watt hours were saved so far. Now that's something old Edison would not approve of!

Here's an excerpt from their about page --

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We can all do our part as designers to dim the lights or shade the fence. Even if it's just a tad. It won't hurt, promise.

posted by Langel

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