Recent studies on blue light increasing alertness lead to the questions...

  • For online research, which is mostly scanning for relevant text, is black text on a blue background better?

  • For intensely detailed reading, like programming, where the eye is mostly focused on each individual character, is blue text on a black background better?

  • 2
    I think the link is looking at room/environmental lighting, not screen colors. Either combination would seem to be almost impossible to read. While I've never tried black text on blue, my own experience is that using pure blue (that is, no admixture of white) text on black makes it pretty much impossible to even distinguish individual characters, let alone read any amount of text..
    – jamesqf
    Feb 7, 2015 at 19:42
  • Avoid ads. Avoid distractions.
    – DripDrop
    Feb 8, 2015 at 2:03
  • 1
    A further thought: could the effect of blue light be because it is mimicing the midday spectrum of natural light? That is, due to atmospheric effects daylight is typically much redder near sunrise & sunset.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


The colors, although helpful, are not that important. I would use full-blue (That is, #0000FF, or rgb 000,000,255), but mainly focus on a font that is not distracting, and is easy to read (Don't be using exo on a text editor), and make it easily readable (Within a size of 12-14em). This will ensure the user will have the most focused workspace, allowing them to focus longer and better, with minimal distractions. You see, although color may contrast better, making it easier to read, distractions are the main problem in modern software, so minimizing distractions is the best way to make a more usable program.


Speaking from personal experience, you'll be hard-pressed to find a black/blue combination that is readable. Any alertness benefit will come from the user struggling to make out what the text says -- and that's likely to increase user fatigue, not increase alertness.

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