Is the pale blue too pale?

I think so, but alternative answers will be appreciated.

Thank you


I'm usually a careful reader, but at least twice I have missed things of importance, because of the paleness of the pale blue text that is currently used at Ask Different.

Lack of contrast can cause some words, or words in some contexts, to be too easily overlooked. Loosely we might describe this as word blindness but the contrast/faintness issue could affect anyone, not just dyslexics.


Design for the Apple StackExchange site in particular, comments under an answer from Kyle Cronin.

What's up with the red on green bubbles?

… yellow/purple or orange/blue is better for people that are colorblind if you really want to use contrasting / opposing colors … 

New design issues

There may be comparable questions/answers in other meta areas, and I don't know whether the pale blue that's currently used is based on a template from a different stack, but I thought I should focus first on the Ask Different area.

  • Some raising of voices under meta.stackexchange.com/questions/97448/… that might have been avoided if the pale blue three-letter word had been more noticeable on a white background alongside a dark avatar (example) … Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 10:17
  • Probably not detectable in my writing, but a learning support tutor once told me that I'm dyslexic … Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 11:08
  • Can you tell us where you missed the pale-colored text? I've been generally okay with it; I'm curious where it was a problem. Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 14:06
  • @Nathan hi, at wuala.com/%23%23Apple-support/members/grahamperrin/2011/08/03/a/… folders a and b, each containing three versions of one screenshot. The second of each triplet shows where I get the word blindness. In (a) I was blind to an entire line that I had written — a real "hmm" moment. Example (b) might be more understandable — very short username pale on pale, surrounded by things that are larger and darker. A little blur (not just for dramatic effect) and hopefully you'll see what I mean. Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 14:36
  • The red/green was a clear temporary error. The designers didn't intend / realize how far that change would go and reverted it until other changes could roll out at the same time.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 15:24
  • Again today I looked at a page a few times but could not see what I wanted. This time it was pale blue on beige that wasn't 'sinking in'. Maybe it's just me but it's really unusual for me to be missing things so often … chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/1543321#1543321 Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 14:19

4 Answers 4


I would love to see a much stronger blue to have more contrast for all the blue text.

Even if the designers felt it was the wrong choice, i'd love to see a week or two to try it out - let everyone know we're trying it (or don't). Then revert it for two weeks to "study the results".

You will have hard data on how many complaints were lodged due to the initial change - and due to the reversion back (from those that liked the new).

I would propose something like the new

enter image description here

Especially the darker shades when examined in a loupe on LCD panels. enter image description here

I should also inquire as the beer preference of the designers and the address to which it should be sent for critiquing their work since it is never easy to re-design something since the colors we have now is the color they came up with, and not by accident.


I like the subtlety and the text is still very readable.


I don't have any problem with legibility, but as a new user I'm stumped when it comes to the significance of the blue and beige backgrounds. I expected the FAQ to provide an explanation, but this wasn't the case. Can anyone enlighten me?

  • Compared with for example i.sstatic.net/hUCvY.png (taken from meta.apple.stackexchange.com/q/268/8546) I guess that the beige of each question and answer, with grey between each one, helps to distinguish each post. I see blue backgrounds used in various ways, most recently in a popular question. Also, Ask Different meta is more brown and beige than Ask Different. If that doesn't answer your question, maybe it needs to be asked as a question ;-) Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 12:25
  • Thanks for that. I'll take you up on that concluding gentle hint and ask a question (though now it seems that beige backgrounds have been retired?). Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 2:23

I always prefer better (ie more) contrast.

See also Contrast Rebellion: http://contrastrebellion.com/

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