Colored Text on a Dynamic Background

Let’s get this out first… I’m a big Grey’s Anatomy fan. No shame here. After 14 seasons, I have just as much interest in sitting down every week and watching the latest episode as I did when it first came out (granted I started via Netflix a few seasons late). Watched most of the spin-off show Private Practice, and now am deep into the new spin-off Station 19. I’m a sucker for drama, and anything that my wife will sit down and watch with me. The latter is a guaranteed win for any show.

Anyways, when I know the season premier is soon to arrive, I often find myself scouring the web for the premier date. I want to know when to set my DVR so as to not miss an upcoming episode. However, last season I was not able to easily find the start date of one of my favorite shows to watch with my wife. It wasn’t until I visited another ABC show when I realize the problem.

I found that ABC’s website has a standard area on the top of every one of their show’s pages. This includes a banner image, the title of the show (often included in the banner image for font), and then a small area below for text, stating the premier date and the time it will air. But I’ve noticed a trend that this text is almost always white in color. If the banner image is a predominately white banner, then the text is near impossible to see.



In case you can’t see what I’m talking about, here it is up closer:


This got me thinking about websites that I build or test. When have I inserted a static (design) block of text on the screen but the color or image behind my text is dynamic, easily changeable by the actual owner of the website.

This becomes a dangerous game in the testing world, because while we are the ones responsible for quality, we cannot guarantee the quality once it leaves our hands and goes into the hands of the users. However, we also don’t want to restrict the image to always be static from here on out, because that too could decrease the quality of the website over time.

It is also not as easy as saying, “let’s just make both the text and the background image dynamic, adjustable by the user owning the page”, because then you remove yourself from the quality even more. I have recently seen this issue with the summer mailers I’ve been getting, where the person in charge of design doesn’t realize that orange font on a colored background may not show up as nice as you’d like.

While I don’t have any immediate recommendations for what should be happening, I’m merely presenting a problem that, as testers, we should be aware of while we go out and ensure quality in our products. Limiting the dynamic content causes stale websites, while increasing the ability to be dynamic loses control on the situation.

There may not be a right answer to rule them all, but it will always be worth evaluating on each project.

Here is a successful attempt by ABC:

Jimmy Kimmel

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