When it comes to designing your own website, the most important goal you should achieve is to give the best user experience possible.
It goes without saying that there’s probably a million things you can do to heighten that experience, but a few of them do get overlooked once in a while. Like the background colour, for instance.
All Lovely in White
Take a look at your favourite websites. Do they all have black texts on white backgrounds? Chances are that they do. We call this colour scheme ‘Black on White’.
It is pretty much the norm for almost every website on the internet, although it’s not exactly written law. If that’s the case, however, why aren’t we seeing more sites with backgrounds comprising every colour on the rainbow?
It all boils down to three things:
1.) Readability factor: We humans have always been reading our words on white backgrounds. Our books, letters and notepads are invariably pale in colour, but never blue, red or green. With the advent of the internet, entire websites naturally began featuring white backgrounds, simply because it’s what we’re used to.
2.) It hurts the eyes: Most people find that websites featuring bright text on dark backgrounds cause them to exert their eyes more than usual, and they find themselves squinting when they view them. Even worse, it could also physically harm some of your visitors…
3.) Unsuitable for the older generation: Your eyes just aren’t what they used to be when you’re old. For these tech-savvy seniors browsing the web every day, black text on white backgrounds are a godsend. The words are clearer, the site looks pleasing, and there’s no risk of inflicting further damage to the eyes. On the other hand, websites featuring coloured backgrounds with even darker texts are practically health hazards to them, and could even result in the purchase of a new pair of glasses.
4.) Just plain ugly: In the early days of the internet, people were still experimenting with website designs, ranging from good to the downright ugly. There were a few well-designed ones from time to time, but the majority would be considered an embarrassment if shown today. This is of course down to personal preference, but ‘yellow text on hot pink background’ websites were already terrifying back in 1999.
Now you know why websites are designed with white backgrounds. There’s no stopping you from choosing a darker tint, of course, but if you’re aiming for maximum site usability (and good web design in general), why not follow the crowd in this case?