Created attachment 106126 [details]
Higher contrast text color scheme
Breeze is generally a great theme, but I find that I suffer from some eyestrain after prolonged work without increasing the contrast of the text. This was simple to do and I believe it strongly improves the long-term usability of the theme.
The changes are extremely subtle; mostly a matter of:
- Changing dark gray text and backgrounds to black
- Changing very light gray backgrounds and text to white
For me, these substantially increase the comfort of using a Plasma desktop using Breeze for many hours, while maintaining and perhaps even enhancing its visual identity. Breeze may benefit from this slightly higher contrast text being made the default.
Created attachment 106127 [details]
Breeze original low-contrast text
Created attachment 106128 [details]
Breeze with higher-contrast text
It's worth mentioning that reviewers have noted Breeze's lack of sufficient text contrast. For example: http://www.ocsmag.com/2017/02/17/the-state-of-plasma/
Thanks Nate, for the thoughful bug report!
We have chosen these colors very thoroughly. The grey tints instead of black and white were chosen so these contrasts don't look too hard on the eye.
In the end, this boils down to a matter of taste, and that's ultimately the reason why changing color schemes in Plasma is so easy, one person's perfect color scheme isn't necessary everybody else's, and it also depends on the display hardware used.
What you could do is create a cloned color scheme and use that, you can even upload it to store.kde.org to make it easily available to others.
I have to agree with Sebas here: the choice is a "damned if you do, damned if
you don't level" - the harsh contrasts would make many users feel as if the
experience is worse...
I am not trying to wave you away of course - you are more than right there are
many users who find the theme too vague but as there is a contrast colour
scheme of Breeze Dark it feels as if its kinda covered.
On Friday, 16 June 2017 17.46.16 CEST Nate Graham wrote:
> Nate Graham <email@example.com> changed:
> What |Removed |Added
> CC| |firstname.lastname@example.org
> --- Comment #3 from Nate Graham <email@example.com> ---
> It's worth mentioning that reviewers have noted Breeze's lack of sufficient
> text contrast. For example:
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
I have to disagree that this is a matter of subjectivity or taste--this is just my preference and other people might not like it. There are objective, scientifically derived principles governing things like eyestrain and readability:
From the above articles, you can see that the *most* readable, usable text is 100% black on a not-quite-100%-white background, since pure white can be blinding on bright screens. Breeze is *so close* with the pleasant light gray backgrounds, but the text itself needs to be a bit bolder to reap the rewards of maximum readability. This will not present a "harsh" contrast; on the contrary, it will make the text *more attractive*, not less. Again, this is not my personal preference, but rather the result of decades of hard-earned usability investigation. I encourage you to read those articles.
You do have a good point. Perfect black on light-light grey is the preferred
one... (although as a print-monkey I need to say "Bright Yellow on Dark Grey"
or the other print monkeys may get angry ;) ) I worry about the inverted
colour scheme though and icon effects.
I propose this - lets create a secondary theme and then try to do some proper
testing. I mean the tricky bit is tying up the bag as it where (because we
don't want #000000 background for breeze dark) as the colour scheme is such a
huge chunk of the identity in so many other areas (from mascots to print
material, webpages etc) - will the gain from swapping to #000000 in
readability justify eventual issues there? Or am I just bikeshedding?
We also need to see if we are creating a huge problem for the developers in
the future... so we would need to have a dev in on it to supervise so we don't
create a mess
Sebas (et al) can we sort of hold off on this while we drag poor Nate into the
VDG room for a chat?
On Sunday, 18 June 2017 15.42.54 CEST Nate Graham wrote:
> Nate Graham <firstname.lastname@example.org> changed:
> What |Removed |Added
> Status|RESOLVED |UNCONFIRMED
> Resolution|WONTFIX |---
> --- Comment #6 from Nate Graham <email@example.com> ---
> Thanks for the comments, everyone.
> I have to disagree that this is a matter of subjectivity or taste--this is
> just my preference and other people might not like it. There are objective,
> scientifically derived principles governing things like eyestrain and
> From the above articles, you can see that the *most* readable, usable text
> is 100% black on a not-quite-100%-white background, since pure white can be
> blinding on bright screens. Breeze is *so close* with the pleasant light
> gray backgrounds, but the text itself needs to be a bit bolder to reap the
> rewards of maximum readability. This will not present a "harsh" contrast;
> on the contrary, it will make the text *more attractive*, not less. Again,
> this is not my personal preference, but rather the result of decades of
> hard-earned usability investigation. I encourage you to read those
I've submitted a patch for this: https://phabricator.kde.org/D7424
IMHO increasing the contrast in the manner I've indicated makes it easier to read and easier on the eyes, not harder. Black text on a light gray background is not in the least bit "harsh." On the contrary, it's very readable. But the less black the text is, the less so this becomes; it become muddier and harder to read, increasing eyestrain.
Created attachment 107749 [details]
Darker text on alternating row backgrounds (e.g. Dolphin Details view)
Attaching a screenshot showing the darker text on alternating row backgrounds (e.g. Dolphin Details view).
Created attachment 107755 [details]
Tooltip showing black background with white text
Attaching a screenshot showing a tooltip with black background and white text
Git commit 04dac01c2a3268f7f6189b2d5c404cb2b7aaf51f by Nathaniel Graham.
Committed on 06/11/2017 at 15:48.
Pushed by ngraham into branch 'master'.
Very slightly increase text contrast for the default Breeze color scheme
For active elements, use Shade Black instead of Charcoal Grey and Paper White instead of Cardboard Grey. This slightly increases contrast and makes text easier to read.
Insufficient text contrast has been noted in reviews of Plasma, for example http://www.ocsmag.com/2017/10/18/plasma-5-11-keep-the-momentum-going/
> However, font color and contrast are in need of an improvement. I had to change the theme and set the text color to pure black, and this provides an immediate ergonomic boost and helps reduce the strain on the eyes. I really don’t understand why distros don’t use simple black color for fonts. Everything else is configurable but the text should be crystal clear.
Pure black has a few disadvantages, since some people find pure black on pure white to be blinding. So I changed the gray text to a darker gray, but it's not solid black, so there is still never a solid-black-on-pure-white situation.
Compare old vs new and look at the text and tooltips:
IMHO the second ones are clearer and less muddy, and therefore **easier** on the eyes, not harder.
Reviewers: hpereiradacosta, jensreuterberg, jriddell, kvermette, #vdg, abetts
Reviewed By: #vdg, abetts
Subscribers: subdiff, abetts, januz, progwolff, broulik, sebas, plasma-devel
Tags: #plasma, #breeze
Differential Revision: https://phabricator.kde.org/D7424
M +8 -8 colors/Breeze.colors