the web-safe color dilemma

the web-safe color dilemma

Post by Jenn » Sat, 16 Aug 2003 02:31:55



Is it now safe for us WWW designers/developers to branch out from the
original set of 256 hex colors?

Lynda Weinman weighs in:

"Though this might seem blasphemous to older readers of my books, or
loyal website visitors, I believe it's safe to design without the
palette. I believe this because so few computer users view the web in
256 colors anymore."

http://www.lynda.com/hex.html

 
 
 

the web-safe color dilemma

Post by Sean McCroha » Sat, 16 Aug 2003 04:47:36



>Is it now safe for us WWW designers/developers to branch out from the
>original set of 256 hex colors?
>Lynda Weinman weighs in:
>"Though this might seem blasphemous to older readers of my books, or
>loyal website visitors, I believe it's safe to design without the
>palette. I believe this because so few computer users view the web in
>256 colors anymore."

Like everything, yes...and no.

Most of the recent data I've seen (based on browser detection logs on
major websites) puts the percentage of web surfers who are still viewing
the web at 8-bit color around 3-5%. All of the usual caveats go with that,
of course...generalizing from the broader population to the specific
population that are YOUR users is risky.

Additionally, the modal color depth appears (based on those same surveys)
to be 16-bit. Unfortunately, there is no single standard 16-bit color
palette, so assuming 116-bit color still makes it hard to predict
which colors are reliable.

Taking this out of the web arena and into the broader world of human
factors in general, I think the standard approach applies. Namely:

1. Know your users. (In this case, do some research on the likely
capabilities of the particular subset of the population for which you
are designing)

2. DOCUMENT the assumptions you're making about them. (This may sound
silly, but it's important. The act of putting these things on paper
sometimes triggers the realization that they're actually invalid)

3. Design to meet the needs of the majority, but give specific thought
to how to handle the case where each of those assumptions is violated.
(For instance - let's say you assume that your users will be using
16-bit color. Well and good. Now...go back and make certain that your
design will respond gracefully in those cases where that assumption
is violated)

It's very similar to the process for accomodating other exceptional
cases. With most user populations, we assume that the typical user
will have normal sight...but it's still important to make certain
that the alternate, less frequently occuring case of the user being
blind is handled gracefully.

--S

 
 
 

the web-safe color dilemma

Post by Alok Ja » Sun, 17 Aug 2003 00:35:22


The reason why 256 colors (actually 216) was introduced is because of
PC and Mac machine's base OS palettes, there are only 216 (not 256)
common set of colors between the 2. Hence it was safe to go with these
colors so that the site looks alright on both platforms. additional 40
colors were basicaly for netscape logo, which had introduced concept
of web-safe pallette.

Having said this, I would also like to highlight that if a designer
deviates from websafe color and it is viewed in any machine in 256 (8
bit) mode, then system will have an algorithem to substitue that color
(either using diffusion or closest match method).

Therefore it is important to undersatdn what the larger population of
your target audiance uses, and then decide on whether to devaite or
not and how much to deviate. You can also create a 216 color pallete
and apply it on base designs to check how it looks.

Hope that helps.

Cheers
Alok Jain



> >Is it now safe for us WWW designers/developers to branch out from the
> >original set of 256 hex colors?

> >Lynda Weinman weighs in:

> >"Though this might seem blasphemous to older readers of my books, or
> >loyal website visitors, I believe it's safe to design without the
> >palette. I believe this because so few computer users view the web in
> >256 colors anymore."

 
 
 

1. colors colors colors

They have also been refered to by color, with tops-blue being
Tops-10 and tops-orange being Tops-20.  Obscure refs have been
made to tops-black, which would be pre-6.04 LIR (limited interim
release) which was often seen on the early KA10's (both of mine,
serial numbers 9 and 44, were black), though I think I had some
DF10 and RC10 (and of course the BeerCooler10) gear which was
blue....

Of course, that pretty sea-breeze blue that the PDP6 came in was
pretty cool.

Doug

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