The effects of 6 foreground/background color combinations (color), 3 font types (Arial, Courier New, & Times New Roman), and 2 word styles (Italicized & Plain) on readability of websites were investigated. Participants (N=42) scanned simulated websites for a target word; readability was inferred from reaction time (RT). An ANOVA showed significant main effects for color and font, and several significant interactions. A control experiment (N=21) using black text on shades of gray (to increase generalization to Internet browser settings), also found significant main effects for background gray level and style, and several interactions. In general these results suggest that there is no one foreground/background combination, font, or word style which leads to the fastest RT (i.e. best readability), but rather a designer must consider how each variable affects the other(s).
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