Black Vs White Background
Black Vs White Website Background
I recently offended and probably lost a client over this subject, so I thought I would write about it real quick.
I used to work in corporate Godaddy, our mission on this special PPC/SEO team was to develop a landing page that converted a visitor into a sale in the most intelligent and fastest way possible, after a year of research, we found, amongst a lot of other things, that black on white converted visitors best. We didn’t even offer customers a black background with white text because it wouldn’t be helping them out, no matter how much they loved it personally, our job was to deliver leads to grow their business.
Should you have a white or black background for your website? Most people who choose black backgrounds are photographers, that is possibly the only real and legitimate reason anyone should even think of using a black background and white text for a website.
If you are a business needing to get leads to grow your business, use a white background. But to back it up, here are some statistical facts and research data.
White vs Black Background Case Studies
Bauer and Cavonius (1980) found that participants were 26% more accurate in reading text when they read it with dark characters on a light background.
Reference: Bauer, D., & Cavonius, C., R. (1980). Improving the legibility of visual display units through contrast reversal. In E. Grandjean, E. Vigliani (Eds.), Ergonomic Aspects of Visual Display Terminals (pp. 137-142). London: Taylor & Francis
People with astigmatism (approximately 50% of the population) find it harder to read white text on black than black text on white. Part of this has to do with light levels: with a bright display (white background) the iris closes a bit more, decreasing the effect of the “deformed” lens; with a dark display (black background) the iris opens to receive more light and the deformation of the lens creates a much fuzzier focus at the eye.
Jason Harrison – Post Doctoral Fellow, Imager Lab Manager – Sensory Perception and Interaction Research Group, University of British Columbia
Conclusion: Which Is Better?
White. You may have friends and relatives who tell you how nice your website is, but if someone with a massive amount of conversion analysis and lead generation skill, with experience and references to back it up, tells you that white is going to convert better, listen to them, if you care about getting sales, that is.
References & Additional Reading:
- UX.SE Post: “Which color scheme to choose for applications that require long work hours?”
- Applying Color Theory to Digital Displays
- Why light text on dark backgrounds is a bad idea.
- When to Use White Text on a Dark Background
- Journal of Vision – Interaction of Ambient Lighting and LCD Polarity on Text Processing and Viewing Comfort
- Journal of Vision – Why is light text harder to read than dark text?