Black background vs. white background - which is more straining on the eye?

So I gotten this programming job and a senior programmer suggests that I should switch the background of my code writing program to black. His reasoning - black is not a colour, whereas white is. if the background is white, we are actually looking at it at the refresh rate of the monitor. So by changing it to black, there’s less strain on the eye and you can work longer without feeling tired.

Make sense? Is it true?

Black text on a white background (or a very pale yellow or green) is generally considered best.

This page All About Vision seems to cover what you want (and more) :slight_smile:

Basics: get LCD, ensure glare is low and lighting correct, adjust contrast for your environment, use black on white (or another high-contrast dark-on-light combination).

Caveat: IANAOptometrist… though for what it’s worth I am a software UI/Interaction designer and have some experience in this area.

So eh, Black on White/Pale Yellow > White on Black (which is my senior programmer’s suggestion)

White on black is very hard on the eyes.

And don’t get me started about web pages that use color schemes like blue lettering on a red background!

Black is not a color? What on earth is he smoking?

White on black is hard on the eyes. I won’t even look at a website with a black background unless it has giant letters.

I find white on black very harsh on my eyes.

I personally prefer black on light grey. Yellow on blue (the scheme used by many IDEs of the DOS era) is also acceptable.

There was a germ of truth to this in the old days of character cell terminals - when people sat all day in front of vt100 and adm3a displays. Low resolution, glare and flicker combined to make the negative polarity background preferable. Once display technology improved, positive polarity could be used without getting the feeling that it was Saturday night in a disco, and was generally better. Monochrome terminals were available in white, green and amber. Most people despised the green ones, but some vendors insisted on pushing green text on everybody. The amber was generally favored over white, and many people believed it was easier on your eyes.

That’s interesting. I’ve always found white-on-black to be best for screen, and black-on-white to be best for print, because of the way the foreground colors slightly bleed out (and appear slightly bigger) in each medium. It doesn’t seem as noticeable on LCDs, but on CRTs, I definitely had a strong preference for light color on black background.

Black text on white backrounds, for people with floaters, fucking sucks. Wish the SDMB had the option to change skins.

Another vote for black on pale gray (like the box I’m typing in right now). And for larger headline type, any reasonably dark color looks good on pale gray.

I definitely prefer white on black when dealing with a computer monitor. The effect is most pronounced if the room is dark, but still exists even with good lighting conditions. To me, a screen full of white is like staring at a light bulb—monitors are not pieces of paper, and the color schemes that work for paper do not necessarily work on a backlit LCD.

Varies wildly based on the individual. Use what you find most comfortable.

I used to find black background with white to be best. But ever since my laser eye surgery i’ve found dark text on light(albeit ideally not white, very light blue/green/pink/purple or the like seems to be best) backgrounds to be easiest.

Most monitors, out of the box, have their brightness levels set WAY too high.

And in a work environment, the user is not likely to be sitting in a darkened room.