I am in the process of creating a website. Currently the website has a solid white background with black text. However, on different monitors the white background can be blinding bright. I have attempted to changed the background to a more off-white color but it still can be bright. What are some techniques or ideas that are considered good UX design to help minimize this blinding white screen but not having a dark or black background with white text?

  • I prefer pure white background over off white for aesthetic reasons and often use a foreground color between #333333 and #444444 and find that has good readability. You should play around trying various color combinations and check it a contrast checker like checkmycolours.com to keep it readable.
    – obelia
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 0:38
  • 1
    A huge amount of the internet has a white background -- most news sites, Google, Facebook, on and on... not to mention applications like most email apps, word processors, etc. I'd imagine if the user has their monitor set to blinding bright it's cause they like it (or maybe even need it for some kind of sight deficiency).
    – jlarson
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 1:14

3 Answers 3


It's the contrast between your background and foreground colours that matters. So most things that will reduce this contrast while still having the text readable will help.

Personally, I like having an off-while subtle texture as the background and dark grey text for the foreground. This is still readable and easy on the eyes.

  • Do you have any examples you may provide for an off-white subtle texture background?
    – L84
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 2:41
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    @Lynda take a look at subtlepatterns.com
    – JohnGB
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 4:52

I agree with JohnGB, the contrast between your foreground and background will determine the legibility of your website.

However, your question seems more of a monitor problem than a specific UX question. All monitors are different and users have different levels of tolerance of the brightness set on their screens.

For example, UX StackExchange is mostly white with blue/black text. I have no problems reading it on my monitors with the brightness set to max.

So I wouldn't make these changes because "you" think it's too bright on "your" monitor. I would do some research on similar sites or conduct some tests with your audience to determine that.


It's not just a matter of the monitor, but also a matter of the eyes of the person. What is blinding bright for someone can be fine for someone else. I'd say that if something can be " blinding bright" for some people, better avoid it.

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