Testing white background on PhotoRumors.com (please vote)

This is a "sticky post" - I will leave it on top for few days to gather some feedback. Scroll down for the latest PhotoRumors updates. There is a poll embedded in this post - please vote:

I will be testing white background on PhotoRumors this weekend. I still have to make some small adjustments. I would like to know what do you think - should I keep the old (black) background or change it to white:

Update: this is how the new picture gallery will look - still dark background when displaying images in full size, while keeping the white background for text. Click on the photos to see the new gallery in action:

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  • Dumo

    I HATE black backgrounded websites! Please, at the very least give us the option to have white!

    • Giving an option to change colors will not be easy to implement because there are several color palettes involved (not only the colors in the stylesheets).

      • oh wow, admin even gets a different color for the comments

        • GlobalGuy

          I gave a second chance to this all white and i’m still not liking it. I also recommend you set up an experimental site and ask designers opinions or ask people to follow through to a link to give their opinion, instead of just changing the site. Its a good way to alienate some less-loyal users. Until you are sure you have a good design, it feels awkward to change what has been “branded” a certain way already. Anyway, my two cents.

          • Thanks – if I do an experimental site, I will get less feedback and it will not be realistic – doing it “live” will give me “live” feedback. I still haven’t touched NikonRumors, which is the main site.

    • GlobalGuy

      I really LIKE the freshness of the White Text Box — i mean “content box”. But I like the black/darker background.

      My vote is for white content boxes WITHIN a black background OR high-rez image background that conveys a sense of beauty or photography.

      • I can try to make the sidebars black and keep the text on white background.

    • Qube

      One big vote here for a lighter background.
      Maybe it doesn’t have to be stark white, but something other than black…or maybe even a lightly textured gray bg image.
      Anything to stop the retinal violation caused by just a few moments reading high contrast text on a black bg.

      I suppose if a black bg is the winner, how about knocking back the the text colors a few tones from raw yellow, red and white?
      That works almost just as well as going black on white.

      My old eyes thank you in advance. 😉

  • Andy


    I cannot read white on black for more than a minute or so. I think I’m a minority here though. This link perfectly explains my issue with reading white on black.

    I have tools to get around it, such as safari’s new reader mode that makes any website easy to read by decluttering and using a black text on white background, but its always nicer to visit sites with dark text on a light background. Sometimes I just won’t bother with a site if it’s has an inverted color scheme.

    • I know, every study shows that white background is recommended, but nothing looks better than a spy shot of a new camera on a black background 🙂

      Also, every major website out there has a white background.

      • Eric

        I personally prefer white backgrounds. I’m a web designer myself so I’ve also had to read many studies on it, the consensus is white background, black text is the best. I think autoblog.com has done a fine job of making a white background blog work. As far as photos, why not just pop them up using any number of the model/light box plugins available for wordpress?

        • Yes, there is a good plugin that darkens the background when you click on a photo – good idea, thanks.

          I think I also like the white background better.

        • Sky

          Gash, I hate these popuping photos using freakin’ lightbox.

      • Bruce

        … there are very good reasons why all the best web sites out there have white backgrounds… pretty much every study and expert review I have seen says basically that humans generally, and those folks with sight and perception difficulties particularly, prefer to read dark text on a light background. Newspapers are printed that way for a reason, so are most books you buy.

  • Personally I prefer the darker background.
    Photographs also look brighter on dark backgrounds.

  • With white background, I have the feeling that everything is floating on the screen – maybe I have to add few borders/frames/dividers.

    • Eric

      You just need a better header design to anchor the page. Use a black or dark color header for example. Then perhaps style the sidebar differently and you’ll be set. Right now the side bat basically has no style at all, so it looks like the CSS is missing. I’ve got a link to a blog I set up myself I could send you as an example, but I don’t want to post it here because it will look like I’m spamming everyone 🙂

      • Eric, go ahead and post your link, even if it is not photography related- I am asking for opinion here. Thanks!

        • Eric

          Well, this one’s not mine (it’s better than mine), so I’ll post it instead:

          I think Winding Roads is about the best looking blog I’ve seen. No clutter, just very clean. It’s a joy to read because the site itself is so unobtrusive. So I vote for just blatantly copying those guys 🙂

          Of course, when in doubt, CSS Drive is the best place I know of to find design inspiration: http://www.cssdrive.com/

  • please ignore the small misalignments – they are easy to fix, my general question is about the background color

  • Anonymous

    that was stupid! Give another option where people can actually tell you what colour they would like.

    • sorry, other colors are not in consideration

  • The white background is so much easier to read and more open and inviting. Love it.

  • Tom

    Best perceptual of human eyes is white on dark blue, then white on black, the last is black on white

  • Ivan

    Black background is very hard on my eyes, white is much better.

  • I thinks it looks very neat with the black header, blue menu and white main area. very sleak and clean and 21st century digital. But of course, if the majority prefers black …

  • Karlosak

    Black background wins for me definitely! White background is like blah, boring… If DPreview can do with it and practically no one complains, why not PR?

  • Armin

    Black is horribe for my eyes. And as you already said: Every study comes to that conclusion. So please by clever…

  • Huggs

    You forgot one more option: “Don’t care, Just bring da goods.”

  • Quido

    I strongly prefer light text on dark backgrounds – because the overall screen brightness is then lower. E.g. dpreview or luminous landscape…


    Pure White is just hurting my eyes soo much ! Try light grey maybe.

    • Carolyn

      Ditto for gray (although tan would be better for me). The solution I’ve used to read content like this is in the display properties of windows (I use XP and IE) , “appearance”, “advanced”, “selected items”. I change the colors of that to black and tan (what works for me). If I’m looking at a website that is hard for me to read, I can usually highlight the text and turn it into something I can look at (or use a text reader). I just pick two colors that work for me either way (depending on the website, background and text colors in the highlighted area switch). Obviously, I have vision problems that I don’t expect websites to design for and I’m used to using workarounds. In fact I can’t think of a website that I look at on a regular basis that I don’t highlight the text to read.

      • yes, browsers do allow you to change the background color

  • I’d also suggest considering not totally black (like #202020). Makes it easier on the eyes then. Same with white (#eaeaea looks nice in Firebug).

  • I would suggest a different shade of blue. I wouldn’t change blue, cause that’s your thing, but something less cyan would be better.

  • LGO

    I like the white better. Its easier to read and to navigate.

  • camaman

    I suggest widening the web page by 30-50%. we all have wide monitors and those are not 1024 res, 15″ ones…

  • omox

    Your content part is quite narrow (approx 960 pixels) on wide screens there is a lot of white space sideways that burns the eyes… personaly I prefered layout with black background which is as easy to read in darkness as in daylight.
    That is my two cents…

    BTW information is the most important part of your web site 🙂

  • Anonymous

    actually liking the way the pictures work

  • camaman

    Judging from the poll results the race is DEAD EVEN!
    White look “new” to me and therefore better, but only cause it’s a change.

    But i notice, side adds a bit less on white and the might get a few less clicks cause of that.
    Also white, and that much white! Looks VERY bright. and text is quite a bit harder to read because of that.
    Font and whole bage need to be wider by default, to give it more contrast and make it easier on the eyes! 🙂

  • another reason for white background is that all press release product shots are on a white background

  • Pepito

    Please please leave it as it was. BLACK BACKGROUND with WHITE TEXT. All this brighntess is hurting my eyes and the enviroment. I’ve been reading this site for years now and always liked the old design very much, it gives you the feeling of being in a secret place with secret information… ideal for a rumor site!

    (and if it is absolutely necessary, give us the two options. Ask some webdesigners, I’m sure -or at least hope- it is not thaaat difficult to have it both ways)

  • Barbu

    Well, almost any other site tends to use white background. Of course, every school of design would tell you that `it’s

    better` but why and how… big secret. This might get back to the first typographies and newspapers: it’s simply cheaper to

    save on ink, which isn’t much of a reason fo screen. Instead all you get is an electric tan on your readers…
    So let’s see: in the daylight there’s no problem with a black background and white text. At night, or in a cozy shaded room (like *photographers* should use when processing) the white background hurts the eyes.
    And there’s another point which almost nobody brought up: why so many *photography* magazines use the inverted scheme, white text on black? Simple: it’s aesthetically pleasing. Shove that down the throats of the “expert” web-designers; for me save the black background, I have already all the tan I need from actually going outdoor. Thank you!

  • jeorcal

    50% W 50% B
    why not Gray ? .. a dark gray for me

  • Elmo

    There is no i don’t care option.
    i prefer the black background

  • camaman

    I think you should make the blank sides of the blog a bit darker. maybe gray…
    Drop by to canonrumors.com and see what I mean. It is much easier to read and is not so bright, hard on the eyes.
    Also it visually defines the content part of the blog so it is easier to concentrate on the text.
    Making that content mart at least 1200 pixels wide (if now 960) would also be a very good idea.

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    white is wining, I prefer white background, admin you have to keep it white now

  • I like white for info pages, and black (dark gray really) for gallery pages.

    There remains the possibility you could insert a black
    background area into a page for a set of images.

    Of course the devil is in the details, have some real depth
    to my understanding, if you wish to discuss this in depth
    drop me an e-mail.

    I appreciate all the effort you put into creating these web
    sites and all the thoughts you share.

  • Dale Nelson

    The excessively bright text on black actually hurts my eyes to view, and I leave the site relatively quickly because of it.

    There should be absolutely no reason not to at least offer a choice to users – css files are not exactly new technology now.

    If impossible, how about a neutral grey background then?

  • I think this white version looks heaps better than before, but for me, harder to read (I have bad astigmatism).

  • Sky

    Mr. Admin – one small request – can poll not be on top of the screen? Cause when I visit the site I always get confused not to see anything at all, than, after 3rd visit, I accidentally scroll down and hit the whole pile of new rumors… duh.

    The new rumor should be visible right away, right now the poll takes all the place available. :/

  • Greenwood_Geoff

    I prefer the black background. The white is nice, but sure does smack me in the face when I pop over from the NR site.

  • JP


  • ok, majority is for black

  • K. Artur

    BLACK PLEASE! White is too glaring and hard for the eyes. I can always focus better (mentally) on a dark page. Thank You.

  • K. Artur

    PR admin
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    ok, majority is for black

    Well? So why is the white background still here?

    • The poll is almost 50/50 – not convincing enough. I am currently working on changing everything to black, I cannot use the old theme any longer, because I had to upgrade to a new version and have to change all the color manually. I still like the white background better…

  • Rainer Lehmann

    White backgrounds didturb sensibls eyes. Why black or white? Make it a bright grey, that’s the best for the eyes.

  • Dylan Robinson

    Ack!!!! I loved the dark site!!! Especially for a camera/photo site. Or given that it’s a photo/camera site, perhaps 50% gray, like a gray card. 😉 That actually is my preferred color for photo/graphics applications, like Lightroom for instance. I’m very pleased more photo apps are using the neutral interface colors. If it has to be bright, please a light gray. White is fine for print or epaper, I have no idea why it’s popular for the web intended primarily for transmissive (LCD, etc.) displays. Hurts my eyes, but perhaps I spend too much time behind the computer.

  • kukimuki

    Black background damage to the eyes!!!

  • kukimuki

    If the background is white, then narrows the pupil. Then we see more clearly, as the camera aperture is narrow…

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