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Using Color to enhance the readability of your content

Even those of us who have a natural flare for color combinations in our wardrobes or interiors may have something to learn when it comes to choosing effective color combinations for online courses. Few people realize the impact a poor color combination can have on the viewer or how readability of content can be improved with a good color choice. We will address how to select colors for your course that:

are not fatiguing to the eye

make it easy to read content

work together harmoniously

set a tone that is appropriate for your course material

What does Color Communicate?

When selecting colors for your course pages, consider first what you are trying to communicate. Color can help you to set the "mood" of your site. It can communicate emotions or feelings such as energy, joy, seriousness, sorrow, etc.

Just as color can convey mood, it can also convey meaning based upon:

an individual's culture

a person's stage in life

hobbies, personal interests

current trends

universal symbols, such as water, grass, sky, etc.

What do you think about certain colors? Keep mood in mind when selecting color.

Choosing Foreground and Background Colors

The general rules for selecting good foreground/background color combinations include the following:

Provide adequate contrast between foreground and background colors

Avoid color combinations or a level of contrast that hurts the eyes

Avoid using green and red as a foreground/background color combination

Do not rely on color alone for visual emphasis

Adequate Contrast

It's a delicate balance!

Be sure to avoid the red and green color combination for foreground/background. Colorblind users will have difficulty with this particular combination. Also, be sure to use other means of visual cues for emphasis, such as heading styles, bold, or graphic icons. Visually impaired students may not be able to distinguish between colors of text well enough to understand the emphasis.

There has to be adequate contrast between foreground and background in order for your viewer to be able to distinguish one from the other easily. At the same time, you need to avoid so much contrast that reading is uncomfortable. Colors look different when placed next to another color. You'll need to experiment to come up with a combination that works.

Even if you find a combination of red and green that you can read and won't hurt your eyes, such a combination could be impossible for a colorblind user to read. Do not rely on color alone for emphasis. Make sure you use additional visual cues like bolding or small images. Visually impaired students may not be able to distinguish text based solely on color.

How to Choose a Color Scheme

For some people, choosing a pleasing color scheme is simply intuitive, while others find it much more difficult. If you're having trouble, choose a single color that you like. Try it out on headings, table borders or backgrounds, etc., and see how you like it.

Be sure that it works well in combination with the foreground or background. Is there adequate contrast?

Avoid color discord. Does it hurt your eyes to look at?

Use it consistently for headings or table borders throughout your pages. This creates a unified monochromatic color scheme.

Combining Colors

If you want to use more than one color, start with a color you like and then use a color wheel to find other colors that work well with that color. Colors opposite one another on a color wheel can be used together to create a complementary color scheme. Those next to one another can be used together to create an analogous color scheme.

More Color Schemes

There are many ways to apply color schemes based on the color wheel, but for many people this is too complicated. If you feel totally befuddled by the color wheel and the myriad choices it presents, there are certainly other ways to come up with good colors for your site! Many designers recommend looking at nature for clues. Think of lush landscapes, of tropical jungles, or flower bouquets. There are so many places to look for examples. You can also peruse your favorite web pages and look for color combinations you like.

Color and Eye Fatigue

Intense Colors

It is important to know that certain colors--particularly when used for large expanses of page space--are fatiguing to the human eye and may make it more difficult for your students to read through the lessons. Bright yellow and bright red are the most fatiguing, but others available on your color palettes including lime green also fit into this category. Please avoid using them for page, table, or navigation bar backgrounds.

Avoid using intense colors for large expanses of space on your page such as page, table, or navigation bar backgrounds.

Reserve these colors for small accents on your pages.

Intense Color Combinations

Some colors are not fatiguing on their own, but become difficult to look at when combined with other colors. These unharmonious color combinations create color discord and should also be avoided in your course design.

You will often know color discord as soon as you see it simply because it may be disturbing to your eyes. This disturbing effect is heightened when the colors are not only used together, but combined as text and background.

For an interesting article about colors that cause eye fatigue, see Color and Vision from Colormatters.com

Questions & Answers

find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
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The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
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I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
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Commplementary angles
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what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
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a perfect square v²+2v+_
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Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
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rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
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Kristine 2*2*2=8
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Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
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No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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types of nano material
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I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
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preparation of nanomaterial
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Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
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Source:  OpenStax, Visual design for distance education content. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10556/1.1
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