Internet is becoming unreadable because of a trend towards lighter, thinner fonts –

“Choosing colours with poor contrast makes navigating, reading and interacting a real pain,” said a spokesman.

“Good design means sufficient contrast between foreground and background colours. If it’s important enough to be clear. This is essential for people with low contrast sensitivity which becomes more common as we age.”

But Mr Marks said that reducing the contrast risked alienating some users.

“To arbitrarily throw away contrast based on a fashion that looks good on my perfect screen in my perfectly lit office is abdicating designer’s responsibilities to the very people for whom they are designing,” he said.

“My plea to designers and software engineers: Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print.

“You’ll be making things better for people who read on smaller, dimmer screens, even if their eyes aren’t aging like mine. It may not be trendy, but it’s time to consider who is being left out by the web’s aesthetic.”

Dr Simon Harper, an experimental Computer Scientist in Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems at the University of Manchester, said: “Black text on a white background may convey a certain harshness, grey text, on the other hand, may convey a softer more friendly feeling. 

“But for some, these design choices come at the cost of legibility, fatigue and comprehension. We call this a situational impairment, whereby the user is disabled by the device, design, environment, or context of use. 

“Straining to see text will give many a disabling experience. In the new world of cutting edge digital design all of us will at some point become impaired. 

“Making sure that controls are present to conform the design to the user, so that the user doesn’t always have to conform themselves to the design – sometimes and impossible requirement, is the only viable option.”


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