RE: colors and backgrounds for web pages

  • From: dusty bray <dusty_bray@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 20:28:00 -0400

Yeah, i do agree with what you're saying:  you shouldn't try to take the art 
out of designing anything.  Even sighted people ask opinions on their work.  
The only thing i was trying to say is that i think it would be good if the 
blind community had a descent model just as a starting point.  Even sighted 
people who design documents professionally go by such models.  As a programmer, 
i can't help but think quantitatively.  smile

Several of you suggested your own simple models (this color usually goes with 
this color, etc.).  Aside from artistic preferences, these choices are mostly 
based on physical causes (some color combinations are actually irritating to 
the eyes).  But i think there could be value in something more detailed that 
can be used as a standard reference, not a cure-all.  Of course, the algorithm 
shouldn't take into consideration all aspects of the CSS, such as images, only 
those aspects that could be easily quantified, such as background versus 
foreground combinations or font choice.  Such a model might help totally blind 
users to relate concrete metrics to otherwise arbitrary, visual concepts.


From: jpgreer17@xxxxxxxxxxx
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: colors and backgrounds for web pages
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 18:37:12 -0500

Agreed, the problem here is as I have said there is no one 
set in stone method of choosing colors.  I believe a misconception of css 
is that because it is put into a style sheet that it is automatically a good 
choice if designed by a sighted person.  What a style sheet is is a way for 
a website to have the same look throughout the website design.  It is also 
used by screen readers as a standard that they can check to get the layout of 
the page.  It cannot however tell you whether or not the colors chosen on a 
website are the correct ones to appeal to a wider audience.  An example of 
what I mean is, there are also websites that have a static background 
image.  Meaning that the picture of the deer they have as a background 
picture does not scroll as a person is scrolling through the text on the 
page.  The text however does.  This in effect will cause the text to 
sometimes be on a brown backing, or a red backing, or even a white 
backing.  Because that reindeer picture does not move the person designing 
the website has to make a good choice as far as text color so that it is still 
readable in contrast to the picture used in the background.  Although it 
can be said that black text would work, the person also has to keep in mind, is 
the text size too small if I scroll it here or there thus making it hard to 
read?  Yep there are times when even a person with perfect 20 20 vision 
can't read a website simply because of the layout of a page.  Much of the 
final design on a website has to rely on user feedback.  Is the site 
boring?  Is the site to hard to look at for long periods of time?  I 
am sorry to say there is no magic mathematical formula to tell you what will 
appeal to sighted users.  For that you do have to just rely on your user 
feedback.  Yahoo for instance with it's first design was fairly similar to 
google in its layout.  It had its logo with a few links on the main 
page.  But as customer interest dropped they redesigned their website to 
make it more visually appealing to the users they had giving them 
feedback.  It of course did not appeal to everyone, me for instance.  
I feel now that Yahoo has become far to cluttered in its design and it now 
away from its actual purpose, to be a search engine.  Now even visually you 
have to search around the page just to find the edit box to type in a 
JohnPG search for all of your Jaws scripts at
Also be 
sure to check out Blind Crawler's Legend of the Green Dragon server at
will be more to come from Blind Crawler very soon.
Administrator: John 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  To: programmingblind@freelistsorg 
  Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:05 
  Subject: Re: colors and backgrounds for 
  web pages

  Hi Dusty -- Well it is a novel approach, but it might be 
  hard to draw subjective information from a survey of style sheets on the net 
  -- for example, suppose a Christmas site contains a background image of 
  raindeer on a snowy landscape with bits of red and green to add color.  
  Well, raindeer are light brown and snow is white, so would the search engine 
  conclude that white and brown, the predominant colors, are Christmas 
  Anyway, just a thought -- Perhaps I should go to your 
  site and read what you wrote...
  Anyway, happy hacking.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    To: programmingblind@freelistsorg 
    Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 5:06 
    Subject: RE: colors and backgrounds for 
    web pages
Ya know, this is a another problem i've been wanting to 
    address for a while.  Like Laura suggested, i believe CSS is the 
    answer.  The only problem is selecting the correct CSS for the right 
    mood / occasion.

i think i wrote about this plan on my website, and 
    i'm curious if this method would help:  First, a Web crawler could 
    scour the Internet for as many style-sheets as it can find.  Then a 
    program could use some basic machine learning to categorize them.  The 
    algorithm might even consider the content of the pages which use the 
    CSS.  For instance, the language of a Web page could be given a rating 
    between "casual" and "professional".  If certain color combinations are 
    used more frequently, we can assume these schemes are more readable.  
    After the style-sheets are categorized, the user could search for the best 
    scheme based on some criteria.  For instance, a user may want a 90% 
    professional and 100% readable scheme.  Or maybe the user wants a 
    scheme for Halloween or Christmas.

What do you all think?  Too 
    bad i never have time to implement half the stuff i want to.  i'd like 
    to know if any of my ideas would actually help.  


> From: 
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Subject: colors and backgrounds for web pages
> Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 
    08:00:31 -0800
> Hi everyone,
> Sighted people 
    are giving me a hard time because my web pages aren't
> breathing 
    fires of colorful flames! *smile* Where can I go, or what should
> I 
    study to learn about colors and backgrounds for web pages? Also, is 
> something that blind people can really do? Or, will I need lots 
    of sighted
> assistance?
> With All Respect,
    Upshaw, LaMar T
> __________
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