The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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color scheme question

Does anyone know about color schemes that are easy on the eyes for information that is displayed on a grid?  I've had a hard time coming up with a good color combination for a grid that doesn't look obnoxious, even with good tools like colorschemer.

Are there any design philosophies when it comes to displaying written information?  Complementary colors that look good for creating websites aren't always so great when it comes to a background for a lot of reading.

To give you a clearer picture, I'm displaying information in a grid that will contain hundreds of rows of entries that have between four and six related columns of information for each entry (e.g., rows of names that include columns of information about each name - age, gender, etc.)

I'd like for it to be something other than black letters on a white background, as it looks a bit too plain for what I'm trying to do.  And possibly a different and complementary color for each related column of information, although I'm not sold on this yet.  Light yellow and blue tend to work okay, but I'm looking for some better looking options.

If anyone can point me to any examples of something that looks good and is easy to read at the same time, that would be great.
Friday, April 28, 2006
The displaytag Java TagLib has some pretty examples:
Imminent Send private email
Friday, April 28, 2006
Veerle did a nice article on styling a table using CSS (with attractive colours). See
John Topley Send private email
Friday, April 28, 2006
FWIW, here's an example:

This was done "the hard way" -- i.e., trial and error.  The basic idea is to use different colors for logical groups of columns, and different shades of those colors for alternating rows.  The end result is kinda nice, I think.
BillT Send private email
Friday, April 28, 2006
Use white background and black text but make every third row or so have yellow background color, this makes it easy for the user to scroll
Monday, May 01, 2006
Thanks everyone.  Very helpful.

I especially like the idea of alternating colors for rows.  I'll try it out and see how it looks.
Monday, May 01, 2006
I have some strong opinions on interface colour screens, especially for software. Basically, they should average out to mid grey*.

The eye works by assuming that everything it sees is mid grey, and it adusts it's colour to filter out any biases in the scene. That's why a few minutes after putting on yellow ski goggles everything looks normal again, and when you take them off eberything looks very blue.

Check out for an example.

If you have a screen that is predominantly coloured, the eyes will adjust to the colour. Typically computer users are staring at the screen for a few minutes, then somewhere else (perhaps changing screes) and it's this constant colour adjusting that causes eye strain and headaches.

*By "averaging to mid grey" I mean that the design should be balanced (or harmonious) with equal areas of complimentary colours. Yellow and blue; green and magenta; red and cyan. I personally use predoninantly greys with very sparing use of colour for highlights or status displays. My designs have been accused of being "boring" but have *never* been accused of being hard to read or prone to cause eye strain.
Vaughan Bromfield Send private email
Tuesday, May 02, 2006

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