With the introduction of DIY website builders, anyone can put elements on a page and call it a website. This is great news for hobbyists, or small business owners with very tight budgets, but it has made the internet a much harder place to look at. Many websites are now build by plumbers, sewers, cake makers, etc. Essentially, people who have no design background or expertise, and the result of this can literally cause pain and discomfort to website visitors through eye strain. Eye strain is when the viewing content causes the viewer to strain their eyes in order to focus on the viewable content. In cases of prolonged eye strain, this it can lead to the viewer (site visitor) to experience headaches. You need to make sure you stop hurting your visitors eyes.
I’m sure you can understand why it’s not the best idea to leave your potential customers with a headache after visiting your website.
Here we will share 2 ways your website is hurting your visitors eyes.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, it seemed as though 90% of all website content was some form of flashing object. You know, the GIF images that you might see on an out of date car sales website, or a 90’s TV commercial.
Used to grab the attention of a site visitor, these become an issue when either scaled up to become a large portion of the viewable content, or if there are too many of them.
Any web page can be any size, but the “viewable content” is the part of the page which is current in view to the visitor. While this can be any portion of the page, it is important to remember that your visitor could be viewing your website on any device. The viewable content area which is displayed on a 30” screen is significantly larger than the viewable content area that is displayed on an iPhone 4 etc.
Placing a flashing object/image on your website that takes up the majority of any viewable content area (on any device) can cause significant eye strain to your visitor. The issue is that many websites are built on larger screens, such as desktops, and then scaled down on to mobile devices after the website goes live. Placing a “small” flashing object on part of the viewable content area while using a 30” screen is all well and good, but this will often result in this object taking up nearly all of the viewable content area on a smaller mobile device.
What you may not know, and very rarely take in to consideration if you do know, is that looking at computer (or mobile) screens is not very good for our eye health any way. Our eyes are constantly having to adjust and re-focus every time we flick from looking at a screen to looking away and then looking back again. Adding on top of this the requirements of our brains to interpret a high-contrast, flashing, image is adding more stress on our eyes and our brains which are already working overtime.
This is why when a flashing object is used as a very small part of a large viewing content area to get a visitors attention, it is effective and not an issue. In this case, it is more of a peripheral vision attention grabber, and this doesn’t have any significant impact on your visitors eyes. However, used as a focus point on a website, it can cause significant discomfort for your visitors.
White on Black Contrast
Many computer users, ourselves included, have computer screens at a high contrast to allow for an easier viewing experience while working on the computer. However when it comes to viewing screens, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to provide your user (website visitor) with high contrasting content.
Unfortunately, many websites have been built with the business in mind first and the visitor right at the bottom of he queue, when it comes to user experience.
Have you ever been to a website that has a black background and white text?
Did you leave that website feeling like your eyes had been on a relaxing vacation on a quiet island, or did it feel like your eyes had been forever stamped with that websites mark?
For those who have never been lucky enough to experience this, check out the image below.
NOTICE ANY YELLOWISH LINES ON THE WHITE SPACE??
Pleasant, wasn’t it?
There are many businesses out there who have a black theme, or branding, and the first thing they want to do is to carry this over to their website. This makes sense because it’s incredibly important to have brand and identity cohesion across all areas. However, it’s even more important to make sure your website visitors aren’t remembering your website because of the negative impact it had on them.
White on black contrast works in small doses.
For Example, a footer of a website is seldom studied intently, and these are often black blocks of colour with white text. These work well because of the fact that most people quickly scan a footer (if that) and don’t spend too much time focusing their attention on that part of the page.
If you have your heart set on a black content background, instead of quite literally leaving your websites mark on the eyes of your visitors, you could opt for a softer approach.
The most important thing to remember when creating your website is that your preferences really don’t matter all that much. You will find far more success if you make sure you look after your website visitors and put your preferences last.