I'm in the process of working with our designers to come up with a graphical treatment for a comparison results table. We will produce a design, and then receive feedback from the business that they can't see certain elements of the design on their monitors (pale blue panels, grey backgrounds etc). We KNOW their monitors are pretty poor - around 1:800 contrast ration. I have looked in vain for anything that will help us ascertain which contrast monitor we should be testing designs on, and at what point we would consider a montiro to be too poor quality to worry about.

Anyone have any experience of this? I am not referring to text contrast here, as there are plenty of sites to help us with that. It's just this: Can everyone see this grey shading? If not, who can't? How many users is that likely to affect?


3 Answers 3


Folllow the W3C standards

See the earlier answer I gave discussing this

There are a variety of tools available that can help you test the colour combinations you are using. You could use white (or the predominant background colour of your interface) as the background, and then choose (foreground) colours to represent shading, then choose text colours that will work with your shading.

Aim for the AA level, it will enable reasonable results.

Another tip, get your business folk to take a look at their monitor settings if the contrast and brightness is turned up too high on the monitor it will wash out the display. Knock the contrast and brightness settings back a bit and you might get a dramatic improvement.


I think cheap monitors are akin to IE6. We shouldn't have to worry about it, but there's such a large market share, we inevitably end up having to.

I was a UI designer at a gig where they were transitioning away from a pale green background on page elements site-wide as we began a redesign of the site piece by piece.

I kept getting flagged for forgetting to remove the pale green background on each release.

The reason was that I simply could not see it on my monitor.


Let me advise a great resource: Contrast Rebellion - to summarize: bigger contrast is always better. Make everything at least WCAG 1.0 (but even better: WCAG 2.0) compatible. And always test if you are not sure: Snook.ca Colour Contrast Checker

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