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I’m working on a portfolio and the landing page I imagined with dark background and white text, while rest of the pages are normal black text on white background. This landing page won’t be scrollable as it will be as tall as the viewport. Meaning, the user won’t see a white section or page until they click a menu and navigate to other pages. I was wondering if this transition will be too distracting. It’s my first ux portfolio and I would not want users to feel uncomfortable for this. From the visual perspective, the user may feel uncomfortable, only if the webpage is being seen in a dark room. Problem is I couldn’t find enough data to either accept or refute this assumption. So I’m relying on visual design principles to predict the outcome. Is the flow going to cause the visual disturbance that I’m dreading?

Important to mention that the black colour is one of the primary colour of the branding but I don’t want to have the whole site in black.

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  • Hi Bluebug, could you post some screenshots of your dark page, and an example of what one of your other pages looks like? Please feel free to redact any identifying information if you need to.
    – Izquierdo
    Nov 5, 2021 at 19:03

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The negative effect of using opposite colors on different pages is caused by the complementary colors induction or afterimage.

Chromatic induction

The chromatic induction occurs when the retina becomes fatigued due to the excessive concentration of a color and loses its sensitivity to it, perceiving, due to the balance of the nervous centers of the eye, its complementary.

A major research area associated with complementary colors is complementary afterimages. A complementary afterimage is defined as the negative afterimage whose hue is approximately complementary to the hue of the original color stimulus.

The image below shows this effect, keeping the eyes in the center of the image for a few seconds and then shifting to a light background will cause the brain to induce to see the complementary colors for a short time.

enter image description here

Such what happens in the visual effects of Akiyoshi Kitaoka.

But this effect or illusion, sometimes unpleasant, happens mostly when it comes to long exposures in fixed images and the negative feeling lasts for seconds. In fact, many web pages use the effects caused by complementary colors precisely to attract the attention of the receiver.


Consequently, creating a background colors jump in web pages will be distracting? Yes, for the fraction of a second it takes to go from one page to the next or the time that afterimages takes (always depending on the age and characteristics of the reader's vision).

What's the best way to avoid it:

  1. Avoid maximum contrasts between page backgrounds.
  2. If changing backgrounds of opposite colors is unavoidable, reduce the percentage of the area that the lightest or brighter color occupies by using wide margins or frames with the darker color.
  3. Place medium/dark gray wide margins or frames; the gray as color has the ability to neutralize the perceptual power of any other color
  4. Put quality content so the user is more aware of the content and not distracted by a simple effect produced by a background color changing during an extremely short period of time.

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