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"Web safe" color schemes?

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Old 03-08-2003, 08:57 PM
G. Couch's Avatar
G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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"Web safe" color schemes?

"Web safe" or "browser safe" color schemes used to be a very important consideration when designing a site but does anyone still bother? I think most users have probably upgraded from 256 color video by why do we still need to design for that?
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:35 PM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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The research I found at Browser News (granted, it was from one site and the stats are probably different depending on who collects the data and when the data was collected) indicates that about 3% of people use 256-color displays. Unfortunately, an additional 5-6% of users use the AOL browser - most of them in the default 8-bit compression mode which uses 256 colors. The BrowserNews website indicates that "the bottom line is that although the number of those with 8-bit displays is small and shrinking, design for 256 colors will remain a serious issue so long as AOL continues to compress (mutilate) images."

Even so, I deliberately chose NOT to design with only websafe colors. I am debating whether having a pop-up "alert" telling AOL users that their browser is munging my images or not. I get the feeling that sort of thing is generally frowned upon in the web development community, but AOL really pisses me off! (See my thread when I first discovered that here.)

I remember reading somewhere (perhaps that designing for 256 colors was not as important today as it once was. I supposed if you're concerned about how AOL users view your site, then you should still design with the websafe colors in mind. But, my feeling is that AOL is going to make all my photos look bad anyway - regardless of whether I use the websafe colors for my site or not, so what's the point of worrying about it?

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Old 03-09-2003, 08:49 AM
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KevinBE KevinBE is offline
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The subject of Web safe colors didn't come to my attention until late in my design. I was ignorant to the fact that some of my visitors would be using 256 colors and may view my site different than intended. The template I used to make my initial site uses colors that are outside of the 216 Websafe colors.

I have color pictures in my gallery that are also going to be viewed outside this gammut. There is nothing I can do about this problem. I guess I need to switch one of my PCs to 256 colors and see what it looks like.

Well I just tried to switch all my other PC to 256 colors and found out that I couldn't. This may be an XP thing?
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Old 03-17-2004, 11:49 AM
okplayer okplayer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Kevin, if you are designing in photoshop, just double click on the foreground color, then when the dialog box pops up, check the little box in the bottom left corner, this will restrict your available colors to only the web safe ones.
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:24 PM
okplayer okplayer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
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jeaniesa - I was checking out your website quickly, and noticed something that I figured you might want to know. Using mozilla firebird .7 (i'm assuming it's the same in mozilla, firebird, and firefox), some things aren't lining up correctly. I attached an image to show you what i'm talking about.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg problem.jpg (90.5 KB, 9 views)
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:51 PM
Hunter Hunter is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 82
Many years ago, WebMonkey put out a good article on the Death of the Websafe Color Palette... basically saying that in reality it's a myth. That really there are only about 22 truely websafe colors. To read the full article, please visit:
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