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How Do I Choose the Best HTML Text Color?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a versatile tool for creating web pages, granting the ability to modify or customize nearly every aspect of a page. It can be easy to overuse HTML text color tags, even sometimes making the text on a site unreadable if care is not taken. Most often, the colors for the text on a web page should be chosen conservatively. Uniformity in design, especially with text colors, can help to guide users through a site and other navigation elements while also preventing confusion. The HTML text color that is used also should be chosen with the overall design of the site in mind and with an eye on the colors around the text.

The default HTML text color in most web browsers is black on a white background. These are the colors used if no other colors are defined, though some browsers allow users to change the defaults, usually for the purpose of accessibility. Basic default colors should be the starting point for a website, simply because they are usually a tested and easily read combination.

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The first step in choosing the best HTML text color for a web page is to consider the overall design of the page. There are many methods for how to help visualize a site but, in general, a mock-up of the website should be made. The mock-up can be done in a basic paint program or on paper with colored pencils. This can help to establish a color theme for the site into which the text will need to fit. Experimenting with what text colors are clear and pleasing to the eye when paired together can be easily done in this way.

The most important aspect of choosing HTML text color is to make sure it is readable by visitors to the site. Websites that use background images behind the text or change the background color of the page need to be especially aware of how the text looks. Color combinations that are too close in hue can appear to be nearly invisible or hard to read. High-contrast colors are the best, especially on pages that have large blocks of text, although bright colors tend to stress the eyes of some people more than others.

Another element to consider about the HTML text color of a page is whether different types of text will need to have their colors changed, as well. One example of when this could be necessary is with the color of links on a page that might have a background of a similar color. The color of the links can be changed to be more readable with cascading style sheets (CSS). Many visitors will expect the links on one site to work the same as on another, so they should stand out in some way from the rest of the text.

One final design consideration that can help in choosing the best HTML text color is to keep the display of text simple. This usually involves using only one color for text in a given area to differentiate it. Using inline tags such as bold or blockquotes can help to define text within an area without breaking the flow by changing colors.

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