I am very new to mobile programming...basically just starting to fiddle with it today. :)

I remember a project I did back in school that surveyed people (at a mall lol) and I asked them which text color on what background color was the most readable to them.

The clear winners were black text on white background, followed by white text on black background, and then green text on black background, etc etc.

Is there any sort of research of this kind done with mobile applications? I'm assuming the brightness and screen size have some kind of impact and I'd like to consider the options before designing.

Since I've not gotten too familiar with the mobile APIs yet, I'm looking for a more broader answer.

EDIT: I would like to consider not just text coloring, but also icon coloring, application coloring, etc.

EDIT 2: Target audience would depend on what kind of application. For gaming I'd be targeting a younger audience. For an informational application, I'd be targeting an older audience. Let's just say for argument's sake I'm developing for a younger audience (that opens up more potential for design considerations).


2 Answers 2


The question is too broad... you have to consider a lot of things:

Like your target audience, what information are you going to display

I could argue that white and black combination is not the best for readability, off white like #eee, also dyslectics read better on yellow background.

iPhone 5: 262,144-colour (18-bit), 200:1 contrast ratio.

Take a look at accessiblecolors and colour theory if you want to have a deeper knowledge about it. Also tools like snook can be used to find out best colour combinations. The font will play a big role as well...

  • 1
    Didn't see the "snook" link at first - just saw it. Good find! Dec 18, 2012 at 17:10

Colors are part of it, but it's really about contrast and value. There's is no one magic forumla, but most agree that something backed off a bit from 100% contrast is ideal.

So, 100% black text on 100% white background can be a bit harsh--especially in low light situations. So one might try 80% black on 10% white.

  • I agree. Personally I don't like the black text on white background coloring. This may be related to @Igor-G's answer, but I have astigmatism, with the black-on-white color scheme, I tend to get a headache. Dec 18, 2012 at 17:09

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