There was a requirement from the client about designing an interface with colours that are easy to read and use when users are roaming agents that are either out in the field or in environments with variable light contrast.

Are there specific colours that should not be used for applications that are regularly used outdoors? I imagine that white would be one of them, so would a light grey be better? Also, could a light contrast mode be supplied to cater for both indoor and outdoor users?

I saw a similar question asked about 2 years ago (Tablet interface design when used outdoors - handling bright light) and also one asked recently (research: dark or light UI better outside) so I was wondering if there is a more definitive answer now with screen display technology and perhaps other improvements.

1 Answer 1


I would focus my efforts on contrast rather than color use. The more contrast the more visible. Stay away from earthy, pastel and desaturated colors. Try to build your palette using COMPLEMENTARY colors, those are the ones who reside directly in front of each other on the color wheel to maximize contrast. Go hardcore black/white when possible.

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