The question came to me when I had finished installing Aptana Studio (one of the coding editors I’ve used) and started it for the first time. I have always used editors that have a white background with colored text, however when I opened my first development file there it was. Colored text on a black background. Talk about disorienting. I tried and tried to swap the background color to white and the text colors to their normal colors to no avail. At this point I got slightly frustrated at Aptana, which is a piece of software that has made my life easy in the past. I thought to myself, why… why! …. why!?!?! would they switch their default color scheme. Indeed. Why? There must have been a logical reason. They wouldn’t just go to the trouble of changing it for no good reason. So I did some brainstorming. Is it easier on the eyes to have a black background? Is the text easier to read? Does it save energy? So I did some googling and found some answers.
I looked at so many sites that I’m not going to list them all here, but I will give a couple examples. First off, I found that yes, it is easier on the eyes in general to have a darker colored background. Not black necessarily though. Here’s a good example of why you don’t want a black background with white text. That is not easy on the eyes OR easy to read. If you get down on that page far enough you’ll be able to click a link to swap the white and black colors. Give it a try after having let your eyes recover for a bit. What does seem to be a good solution is to have a darker green background with light green text as seen here.
The next question posed was, does a black background save energy. The answer is, sometimes. If you have a CRT monitor or LCD monitor there is still light being projected out of the pixels colored black. So there is still energy being used. However, if you have one of the newer LED monitors, you are able to get a “true” black. Which means that when a pixel is supposed to display the color black, that pixel is actually just shut off. No light is projected through and hence, you have the color black. Since there is no light being projected, you are saving power. So, if you’re looking to boost your laptop or cellphone power and you have an LED display, give yourself a black background! 🙂
One last thing I want to mention was that I also read that you can sometimes double the battery life of a cellphone with an OLED display by tinting your screen to the spectrum of red. I may just have to try that out sometime. Let me know if you try it!