Presentations that are Easy on the Eyes

  • mickeypb

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 46

    Light backgrounds are better.

  • GeorgeCopeland

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6926

    Light backgrounds. Microsoft spends millions of dollars every year user testing the Office suite. For PowerPoint presentations, I recommend mimicking their provided templates in font size and organization. None of us are likely to have the resources to do any better than these.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125057

    I alternate between the default and custom themes, but regardless of whether it's light or dark, I prefer a more limited number of colors in the theme, and I prefer that the differences in font color between various display items not contrast too much; for example one separate and complimentary color for: keywords, identifiers, literals, and comments. I don't care to make the JOIN clause stand out from the SELECT clause, and I don't want to see green fonts along side blue fonts; that's just too much visual clutter.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • epeters 23085

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 29

    For a presentation- yes, white background, big dark fonts.

    For your daily coding  I say  it's personal preference.

  • Aleksandr Furman

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 916

    GeorgeCopeland - Friday, June 2, 2017 7:27 AM

    Light backgrounds. Microsoft spends millions of dollars every year user testing the Office suite. For PowerPoint presentations, I recommend mimicking their provided templates in font size and organization. None of us are likely to have the resources to do any better than these.

    That same Microsoft started adding dark schemas to their VS and Office so perhaps it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. Humans are creatures of habits, we tend to be set in our ways and use whatever we're accustomed to. For me that means dragging my color schema from one job to next. On the other hand a lot of people I know just never change options that were installed by default.
    Bottom line - I'm 45 my eyesight is not as good as it used to be and I prefer Dark Theme for SSMS and VS. My eyes are definitely less tired by the end of the day.  As for presentations I believe it's more about proper contrast and size.

  • LadyRuna

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2174

    peter.row - Friday, June 2, 2017 2:16 AM

    "Have you ever watched a movie with dark scenes and been sitting half way back from the front and thought - "I can't see anything that's going on?",  I never have, I wear glasses and am turning 40 this year."

    I have never been able to see what's going in in dark scenes in movies. That's part of why I dislike balck & white film Noir & horror movies - they're so dark that I can't see anything that's happening on screen. 

    I don't like the dark themes in any of the applications because it's too difficult to see the text. I find it's easiest to read black letters on white background than it is to read white letters on black background.

  • Patrick Veilleux

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 721

    I have a few rules:

    1-Printscreens must be taken with the window size as small as possible. A screen shot of a 640x800 window is best to view on a projector than a 1920x1080 window. It makes all text clearer for the screen shot. After all, you don't know the resolution of the target projector.
    2-My general presentation layout uses a dark image background, with large bright text, or the reverse. It depends if I am in a dark room or a lit up room for my presentation. It also makes a good contrast with screenshot contents...
    3-Use large fonts and limits yourself to only a few points per slide. I have good eyes, but not everyone has.
    4-Projectors have a tendency to brighten everything, and makes colors strange, unless you can fiddle with the projector settings. Don't rely too much on color accuracy.
    5-Live coding sessions is bad, because users won't pay attention and you will loose time testing / compiling. Pre-make your sample projects, and only shows in your presentations the lines of code that really matters. You may have the control over the code window, but users don't know if you are going up or down, and they can quickly loose track.
    6-Create more slides if you need to show more things.

  • hjp

    Default port

    Points: 1434

    I have a colleague who just begun experimenting with dark background on his monitor half a year ago.

    I must say, since that day, I haven't been able to tell what's going on when we discuss code bugs by his table... I am used to the white default background. And I am colorblind (red-green) which really isn't a good trait in a programmer! But I manage (biggest problem is the red pen-color used for errors: I simply don't see them! Costs me minutes every time, because I have to debug the hard way!)
    I can read his code, when he points to it, but the dark background makes it futile for me to scan the page as such and spot things (like semicolons or mismatching parenthesis) which are triggering the error even if everything seems to be in order. Luckily, I have never seen a code-heavy presentation on dark background. I guess it would be even worse. Me not understanding a thing unless spelled in capital letters, so to speak.

  • GeorgeCopeland

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6926

    hjp - Friday, June 2, 2017 8:41 AM

    Me not understanding a thing unless spelled in capital letters, so to speak.

    Asking for readability and clarity is a good thing. These maximize maintainability and productivity.

  • Mr. Brian Gale

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22526

    My personal preference for a presentation (after using my projector to display past PASS presentations) has been the white background with dark text.
    At work I prefer the white background for things as well.  For me, I find it easier to focus on black text on a white background.  I also find that most of the color coding of applications works best with a white background.
    Far too often I've seen developers not notice that they have a comma on a line where they shouldn't when they have the grey comma on a darker grey background.

    But with all of the projectors I have used (total of 2) and seen at other places, it seems like a white background is easier to read off of as long as the text is large enough.  Past PASS presentations sometimes compress the video in a rather lossy format so when the presenter scrolls through the text, it takes the video decoder a little longer than I'd like to find a keyframe and give me a nice crisp image.

  • Revenant

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 42467

    I am using light backgrounds and I adjust screen brightness to make sure that it is not too bright.

  • IowaDave

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1615

    I'll throw my hat in the light/white background ring for presentations.  I've been to quite a few presentations where the PowerPoints have been that way but then they go to demo something in Visual Studio and they have the black background and I can't see a thing they're doing.  It really bugs me!

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18816

    latkinson - Friday, June 2, 2017 6:30 AM

    when working, I prefer lighter backgrounds and dark text. With my age and eyesight, it gives me the best visual contrast....

    Interesting side point, my wife is this week undergoing an extensive course in managing websites for ADA compliance and choice of contrasting colors for visually impaired is a major component of that.

    [Apparently regulations hit later this year, and EVERYTHING that her university department puts on the website must be approved by one of the people who've gone through the training. They are concerned about lawsuits and/or fines]

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • GeorgeCopeland

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6926

    jay-h - Friday, June 2, 2017 1:17 PM

    Interesting side point, my wife is this week undergoing an extensive course in managing websites for ADA compliance and choice of contrasting colors for visually impaired is a major component of that.

    [Apparently regulations hit later this year, and EVERYTHING that her university department puts on the website must be approved by one of the people who've gone through the training. They are concerned about lawsuits and/or fines]

    The most important thing that designers can do for ease of access is publish very, extremely standard HTML and CSS. That way a client agent can reliably transform it according to user needs. Anything else is just fluff.

  • Doctor Who 2

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7760

    When it comes to presentations I do prefer light backgrounds with darker foreground color for text. I just need it for presentations. I have been programming using Visual Studio (VS) and VB 4, 5 and 6, for probably 20 years. During all of that time I'd always used light background with dark foreground colors for text. It wasn't until last year that I decided to give the dark theme in VS a try. I haven't looked back because I love the dark theme in VS. But, I don't like it in presentations.

    Rod

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