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Does anyone here test color palettes or changes on older monitors? Someone in one of our design review meetings suggested doing this, and curious as to the thoughts of fellow UX designers.

In making an update to our platform's design, changing the zebra-striping background grey fill to a slightly lighter grey for less contrast on the striping, someone in one our meetings suggested I get a hold of one of the really old monitors we had on site, to test the change and make sure it didn't lose too much contrast.

While I don't mind doing so, I don't understand how that would be very effective. There are many types of old monitors, and calibrations can vary among monitors, old or new. Sure I test on this particular scenario for the monitor I happen to have handy to test with, but it's still not covering all of the other possible scenarios with other monitors and calibrations. I'd think a more effective strategy is to adhere to W3C's web content accessibility guidelines including minimum contrast between text and background. I also test our color combinations using the Mac Sim Daltoism app, which tests for all the various types of color blindness to see how colors appear on page with each type.

Fellow UX designers - thoughts?

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At some point we as UX Engineers/Designers have to have faith that the equipment that users are using works as it should.

If you were to get an old monitor and see if the contrast still works, you're not in fact testing the design, but rather the monitor.

As long as your design uses correct contrast as laid out in the WCAG guidelines, which you've said it does, I personally use the WebAIM Contrast Checker, then you shouldn't need to go testing everything on different monitors.

People have all sorts of weird monitor settings and brightness and contrast settings, but it's not up to you to ensure that it works at the extreme settings, set by the user. All you can do is make sure that there's enough contrast there to begin with.

So I would say that you're initial thoughts are exactly right.

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    Thank you. "At some point we as UX Engineers/Designers have to have faith that the equipment that users are using works as it should. If you were to get an old monitor and see if the contrast still works, you're not in fact testing the design, but rather the monitor." - this was my thought though I was struggling with how to put this into words as a response to the suggestion. Your comment sums it up perfectly - thanks again! – abaumm Apr 13 at 17:16
  • @abaumm glad I could help, feel free to upvote and accept this answer if it was able to help you – Brett East Apr 14 at 22:23

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