202 – Matte v glossy screens

Debate with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Setting up the Debate

Nathan says ‘Matte and Glossy’ sound like a Las Vegas cabaret act so David’s down for a quick win on this one!

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This is a little bit of a sham debate as it is as silly as matte or gloss paper.

But some designers have a preference for one over the other and all of us who make websites probably need to consider that visitors may have vastly different experiences depending on what they use.

We have some confessions first:

  • Neither of us have given this much thought before
  • We most certainly will display our ignorance
  • We will definitely wander into chat about the other factors that affect a visitor’s viewing experiences. (browsers, eyecare software, colour gamut range, nits and calibration)

Further reading which will educate you far better than this podcast!



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The points in favour of glossy

  • Brighter and more vibrant (uplifting) 
  • As we move more to vibrant smartphone, it’s useful to design on a glossy screen… it may better reflect that experience
  • No yellow or purple hues distorting the palette (particular never seeing true grey)
  • Don’t need manufacturers deciding for us what glare issues are. We can add our own
  • Can see subtle shades (#fafafa)
  • Easier to wipe clean

The points in favour of matte (anti-glare)

  • Some will say there is no difference between a matte screen with a anti-glare cover, which makes it matte (there are some who argue antiglare and anti reflective are different again)
  • Health and eye stain (from distracting reflection and too much contrast)
  • If brand colours are going to print (likely) a matte screen is likely to be a better representation of that (better than a glossy backlit vibrant version)
  • Anti-glare seems to be on the increase (hard to prove but it seems to be the trend)
  • If you can make it look good on matte, you’ve succeeded!
  • A damp microfiber cloth will clean the anti glare screens

Additional thoughts

  • Which is more popular? Hard to say. David could not get a powerful glossy laptop and has not found a glossy 24 inch monitor. But touch screen devices need glossy and 2 in 1 laptops/pads are popular
  • Microsoft’s ClearType on by default – remember that
  • Browser styles (text decoration) Firefox and Safari use the sRGB colour profile. Chrome does not or does not by default  (chrome://flags/#force-color-profile)
  • Calibration tools like Datacolour SpyderX Pro can be useful (https://www.creativebloq.com/features/best-monitor-calibrator)
  • How many nits? What an odd question! https://www.howtogeek.com/402006/what-are-nits-of-brightness-on-a-tv/
  • Color gamut (Adobe’s SRGB)
  • Most decent normal monitors will cover 100% of the sRGB colour space, which translates to about 70% of the Adobe RGB space. Anything above 90% is fine, but the displays included on cheap tablets, laptops and monitors may only cover 60-70%.
  • What about people who like a dark UI over a light one?
  • Web safe colours are not considered relevant today. Web safe colours emerged during the early era of the internet; a standardized palette of 216 colors that displayed consistently across all major browsers.
  • Pixels (retina)

If any of this has meant anything to you, or you have a comment, please leave on below, or find the thread in the WP Builds Facebook Group!

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news. He's from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Walmsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP belt podcast. This is episode number 102 entitled Matte versus glossy screens. It was published Thursday, the 22nd of October, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined in a minute. Bye. David Wamsley so that we can have our debate. But before then, just a few bits of housekeeping, head over to WP Builds.com.
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Your Matte versus glossy screens. This is really interesting and it threw up and absolutely ton of information that I didn't know about. Basically, David had a problem. He needed a new screen. He didn't know what to get. And then something arrived that he wasn't expecting and it made him go down this rabbit hole of what the screen might be showing you.
Clearly, you want to. A screen, which is going to be identical to everybody else's so that what you're looking at when you design a webpage is exactly the same as everybody else, but that is not the case. You can find out more in today's episode. I hope that you enjoy it. Hello,
David Waumsley: [00:03:24] today's debate. We are discussing matte versus glossy screens.
So I'm going to win this one easy, because Nathan said earlier that matter, glossy remind him of a Las Vegas cabaret act. So definitely
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:38] you can imagine them with their selection of white tigers. Yeah, that's mountain glossy. It's brilliant. what have we got ourselves into today, David? this is new and uncharted and possibly on the safe territory.
It is.
David Waumsley: [00:03:51] It's a really, it is a sham debate. This one, cause it's as silly as. Matte or gloss paper and it's going to get even sillier. Cause you revealed to be earlier that you caught in my, which is Matt, which is glossy most of the time.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:03] no, I really can't. No, I genuinely can't. If you ask me to buy Matte to paint, I don't know whether that's the shiny one or the, not quite so shiny one, but I'm going to try, this time and actually there is a lot in this we've I think both of us have learned a great deal in the last.
Couple of days. And specifically in the last hour, whilst we've been talking about this, there is loads in it much more than I thought.
David Waumsley: [00:04:26] Yeah. we're going to dive in vert little bit art because it gives us a chance to talk about all other things. clearly there are some designers that have a preference for one over the other when it comes to matte and glossy.
But given that we, all of us really need to consider. What our visitors might see and how that experience might be vastly different depending on what they use. We're going to move into all different things that might affect the viewing experience. So browsers eyecare, software color, gamut range, knits.
I'm looking forward to talking about knits
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:58] and obviously tigers as well. my
David Waumsley: [00:05:00] targets.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:02] Okay.
David Waumsley: [00:05:02] we've really, we've just learned stuff on this some way. Should I tell them a bit of a backstory? why this has come up?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:08] Because there is a big story and this isn't the,
David Waumsley: [00:05:11] Oh, gotcha. my computer died a couple of months ago and they've been trying to fix it and I've been looking for a new laptop because I gave up.
And I'm waiting for the fix it, and I've rejected one laptop that came, it had the perfect, requirements ready for what I need. I need Camtasia to run. So that's quite intensive use. So I've got a gaming laptop and it came and it just looks so dirty to me. It looks so bad. It should be gray. All the sparkler gum.
I'd never even heard of really anti-glare before this clear, I must have had glossy machines all the time. So I sent it back thinking it was. Defective. And, since I've been looking around all the different showrooms and I've realized it's such a, it's so difficult to get a glossy machine, which is what I thought I wanted, but actually.
Today, I'm going to argue Matt. Cause I've had my map machine back to me for some time and I
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:03] When you say that you've got this new laptop and you opened it up and everything looked a bit dirty. Can you describe what was disappointing to you? What were the things that you're I perceived that were at fault?
David Waumsley: [00:06:14] Oh, the first thing I noticed was that everything that I know to be great, all the kind of user interfaces that I know are gray, I'd gone to this slight beige and that kind of felt off. I didn't like that. And then also the next expense really was the fact that, That the vibrancy of all the colors and disappears.
So a lot of the interfaces I was used to out, really kicked out some bright colors and this wasn't, it was all really flattened out. So there's that. And then to top it up, I looked at a site that was working on that had some really subtle grays that were distinguishing the different rows within the page.
And I really couldn't see them very clearly. So I thought, this is a defective computer. But no, apparently this is the experience many half.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:59] did you endeavor to change the settings, the contrast, the brightness, all of those things to correct it before you sent it back?
Or did you just think no, there's a, there's like a problem with it. because out of the box, I just can't see the difference between what I know to be two different grades.
David Waumsley: [00:07:14] Yeah, I did, but I think possibly, I don't know this because I got a replacement, a computer and I've been able to fiddle around so that the thing that I'm looking at today is something I've slightly changed with my graphics card.
And I've got. The balance between, while I remember I've got it how I like it now, but it has been with alter in the defaults and I couldn't do it first time. maybe it's just because I just didn't do it. And I gave up very quickly. The interesting thing was, I was, center cause I thought, okay, I can live with this.
It's got the spec I need, it's just the screen. And I need a monitor. So we talked to our guys, they brought over a couple of monitors and we tried to out, it looked exactly the same. I thought that half. I have this and there's only later. Yeah. I didn't realize it's actually, what I've been looking at was.
Matte screens, not glossy ones, which I'm used to.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:04] Okay. I am. I can completely vouch that there is a full difference between the way that these things work, because at the minute I've got in front of me, I've got a Mac book. It's not a very new Mac book. It's quite a few years old. That's what I'm looking at right now.
But to my left is an LG screen and it. It was bought, or I don't know, maybe 10 years ago, and even 10 years ago, it wasn't a very expensive one, but basically it's there just for me to put all the stuff that I'm not really concentrating on. So email and so on. And before we recorded record on this episode, I started flipping things from one screen to the other, just to deliberately see if I could spot a difference.
And the difference is astonishing. That is to say that certain things are completely invisible to the eye on the cheap. Matte monitor, particularly gray. so for example, we're all in the web. It will mean something to us. If we talk about hexadecimal. Yeah. F six F since it's white, it's completely the same as F on the cheat monitor.
Whereas if I look at it on the Mac, There's complete contrast. and again, right now I'm staring at a Google doc and the Google docs walk, pretends to be on a piece of paper. And it's surrounded by gray to add some sort of contrast to that great, totally disappears. So on my cheat monitor it, the whole thing looks like a big piece of paper.
There is just no difference at all. And then that was replicated and everything, the yellows look different. The reds look different, everything looks different. The only thing which doesn't seem to look different is blue. Blue seems to be about the same.
David Waumsley: [00:09:41] Ah, so interesting. Now the thing is it wasn't to do with cheap monitors?
I don't think, my wife's, I think the 11 year old Acer is what I've been using while I've pink. Tried to get a computer and it's it just. It shows me the colors as I expect them to be with the subtleties of gray being there. And it's really lovely. And of course that's what I wanted. I can't understand why I was looking at much more expensive monitors and laptops and not getting that kind of color.
But I think there is a preference, I think. the one thing that you didn't spot when you were just doing your tests is the issue I had with about the sort of. the slight change of hue to what should be there, which is created by the anti-glare surfaces.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:27] Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:10:28] and I did, it was always Brown and in fact, all the other monitors I've looked at going into a Dell showroom recently, they were the same.
They're all at a slight brownish notice to all of the
Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:40] grays. I guess the concern here, like you alluded to earlier is that no matter what device you're working on, You've got to be mindful that the subtle things that you put in, which may be subtle but important. So for example, if you, I don't know, in a table, you've got alternating Rose and one's white and one's gray, one's white.
And that's the only difference between the rows. You may have designed something which is completely white. to the person viewing it. And you've got this impression that you built something and it looks really nice and it's very subtle and your subtlety is completely lost on the device that they're looking at.
So that's why I think this debate can happen because there is an importance here and we, and honestly compare slightly ignorant to it until we started looking at it. Okay. Do you want to dive in and to discuss, describe why you prefer one over the other. Okay,
David Waumsley: [00:11:32] I'm going to put the, get I'll put the org.
Maybe you should do the argument for glossy
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:36] first. Okay. that's stronger. My I'm the only expert that I can relate is a I've got, like I said, I've got this Mac book and. When you put the screen off, that is to say, when you shut the computer down and you're basically presented with a black screen, it's a complete reflecting surface, right?
It's basically a piece of glass as far as I can work out. Maybe it's not glass, maybe it's something else like gorilla glass or some other, I dunno, component. I don't really know. It may well have some sort of coating over the top. I don't know about that either, but when it's off, I can, I could. I could brush my hair in it.
If you know what I mean, you're not gonna do my teeth. it's it reflects absolutely everything. It also attracts fingerprints like nobody's business. it really does. When the screens off, I can see a history of where I've touched it since I last cleaned it, every single touch leaves an impression and.
That impression is still there when you switch it on. So I'm looking, I've just turned it off whilst we're recording. I'm looking at the screen and fingerprints that are really obvious are staying in front of me so I can see them on the Google doc. And now that I've seen them, it's annoying me. so anyway, that's just to give you some sort of contrast, however, The an article, which we read, which I'll post in the show notes, which might be, it's, you couldn't have had a better blog if you wanted it.
It's called PC monitors.info. Obviously somebody who's like really into this posted an article where they tried to describe to big people like me and you beginners in this space. Exactly what the difference is. And on the face of it, just to paraphrase very quickly, the glossy screens, because there's less chemical stuff because there's less sort of abrasion that they, the matte ones, they have to do things to it to stop it reflecting.
So they coat it with things or they rub it with things to make it, reflect the light in a, in an entirely different way. So it's not quite so crisp. That has an impact. Not only upon the light that's reflected. Back at you from the room that you're in or the sunshine, but it has an impact on the light that's emitted from the screen itself.
And that is to say it diffuses it. So a glossy screen, and again, go to this article because it explains it much better, but there's these diagrams of the light coming out the screen and it comes out in more or less straight lines. So the reds come straight out, the greens come straight out and the blues come straight out and that's desirable.
You want the light to come directly out of the screen? However with the, that one's this coating, whatever it is. and I think there's a whole range of different things that they do to make it match that diffuses the light. So rather than coming out in a straight line, if you like it diffuses.
So some goes left, some goes right up, down and so on. And so in theory, The quality of that image is his company is compromised. And so that's right off the bat. That's probably one of the first things that I would say is that you are hopefully getting a better quality image. And I can only imagine that's why the likes of Apple and, love them or hate them.
Apple do strive to do the best technical out there. I'm guessing. That's why they're. Their equipment has a glossy screen. Now forgive me if they've moved on from that, since my Mac has been bought, but it does. That's a presume why they use it. there's no distortion to the colors. Everything comes out exactly as it should come out.
And in my tests, on the screens in my house, and there's a number of them, the glossy screen can cope with the subtle grays
David Waumsley: [00:15:16] way better
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:18] than the matte ones come. So there's my opener.
David Waumsley: [00:15:21] Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's been a criticism for them, the matte fans who, not the Mac fans who like a mat.
they, the fact that they have held, I think that's still true today. At least from what I can. Pick up through Googling, is that they have stuck with glossy and I can see it because it's just, go around showrooms. It really is vibrant. It looks great. I'm going to argue the math side now having hated it for, a couple of weeks now, and now I've managed to adjust to it.
Now, first thing is obviously. If I wanted to do the thing I really should do, which is take lots of selfies of me near the beach, enjoying the lifestyle. I've tried to call out for them. I know to be able to do it with my anti-glare screen, I might actually be able to work on the, On the beach, but it's failed likely, but I think there is some thinking it now you can adjust a lot of the screens to the issues that I had.
I've I haven't, I am now like kinda matte
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:23] texture.
David Waumsley: [00:16:24] I should, I need to preference this a little bit. Cause people. Anybody who knows about this stuff will be pulling me up because there is apparently obviously a difference between Matte actual Matte screens. Cause that's built into the glass and then the anti-glare cover, which is what I have.
So potentially I could remove it. but my warranty would, it would, yeah, cost me a problem there.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:46] The anti-glare thing is a, is like a removable layer. That is to say you remove it once and it's gone. You're not going to be able to reapply it, but it cannot. It's something which in the factory is.
It's stock on as a separate component, as opposed to being built into the, Matt, let me just get this straight, Matt, is that where the screen itself, you can't tear it off and throw it in there. Ben anti-glare you can. Or can it sometimes just be like something that's sprayed on or something like that.
David Waumsley: [00:17:14] think for all intents and purposes, but it would say the same thing. The way it's made Matte is perhaps a technical difference, a difference, which we wouldn't include normally. So I'm going to count mine anti-glare as a matte screen. I'll also, there's another argument, which I still don't understand between anti-glare and.
Anti reflective as well. So there's that there's even more subtleties in the type of cover that you might use as well. So we can't get into that, but yeah, I think the, I have noticed that even though my lighting is quite good and I don't generally see a reflection of myself in the glossy. The whole reason for the eyestrain for the mat is to reduce that isn't it, those distractions that you've got when you're looking at a screen things that your eye has to
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:58] compensate,
David Waumsley: [00:17:59] because obviously human beings are glued to see movement and look for variations all the time.
So it's going to be easier on the eye. And I think I've already started to found find that, and I Do you find that even though I didn't have, I didn't think I had an issue before having this matte screen is definitely helping with the experience. And I think the other argument would be, and I've seen some designers who work in print mostly who will do clever stuff, calibrate their screens to get.
You know the color they expect to go into print and they're not going to get there and want something flattered out because what I'm seeing as matte colors, when I've got it by default is much closer to how something is going to come out in print. And it's something I noticed, even though my first.
Issue was seeing this kind of Hugh and see and everything flattened out. When I looked at our own brand colors for our company, when I looked at those colors on my mat screen, it was much closer to the print ups. We have some business cards, so I think it's probably a proper representation t-shirt of to life.
And perhaps people's true branding
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:12] out there. I have a memory and this again may be. Going, maybe this is no longer the case, but I have a friend of mine who is a graphic designer and she gets paid very well to design graphics. But most of it is for print. She does a little bit on the internet, but most of it is going into magazines and out the, through the post and whatnot and memory tells me that she bought a monitor.
Where out of the box, the calibration was such that it would truly reflect what the printer would achieve. And she could hold up. The printed version onto the screen and that the reds would be the same and the blues. I'm sure there was some variation, but basically what she looked at would truly represent what was printed or not.
I remember at the time thinking that's weird. I didn't even know. And that was the first time this had ever come across my path. I didn't even know that there was a. There was a way I honestly thought that you could just adjust your way into any configuration, by doing the contrast and the brightness and the RGB and all of that.
but the fact that you would spend additional money on a monitor specifically for that task caught me short. I thought that was really fascinating. I'm also quite intrigued by your discussion there about strain on the, I do. Do we know maybe, cause I certainly don't, but I feel.
Like tired. I don't, I can't describe it. I feel like a tiredness, like I want to blink more or like the water's not coming into my eyes or something. I do feel it after staring at a screen all day and is the intention of a matte screen. Okay. One of the intentions of a matte screen then to reduce that strain, because there's less how to describe it.
There's less direct light coming in because it's being diffused a little bit more. It doesn't cause that.
David Waumsley: [00:20:58] Yeah, I think when I think there's a lot of different. To this one is reducing. there's another addition to this one, because along with the anti-glare screens is using some eyecare software, which actually takes down some of the blues, which a pallet more soothing.
Then you also reducing the light with a lot of these, which is helping with the light. And I'm throwing in my own. If you'd like. Psychological interpretation of what they're meaning. Talk about the reflections being distracting and tiring. And I think that's true because we are, as human beings geared wired to see our movement.
So if we're moving and we're seeing that reflection in our screen, that's just going to tie our experience a little bit. That's I'm not in my own layer to this really.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:42] Yeah. That's interesting. I know that. and again, we won't get into this right now, but I know that most mobile phones nowadays come with a setting, which is easy to access usually.
And then like notifications at the top where you just click a button and it's usually called like night mode or something like that and strips out. I think it's the blue I'm 90% sure. It's the blue. Yeah. And by stripping out the blue, it, there is something about the blueness, which causes you to be more awake.
And so the idea is that you would do this at night. and then if you can, if you're looking at your screen, it's less likely to cause you to be. Alert, you're having a much more passive reading experience and it looks more CPR, shall we say, whites become ready.
Brown is very subtle. And in fact, after staring at it for a few minutes, You can't even really see it anymore. Your eyes quickly adjust to it. And then when you turn it off again, suddenly everything's yeah. Oh, that's far too much, there's too much white. So I know that there's a lot of science in that.
I can't imagine that Apple and Google behind Android would waste time putting that menu in there. If there wasn't some rock solid science behind it.
David Waumsley: [00:22:49] Yeah, I'm sure. And I'm sure more people are looking at the screens in ways that I won't, because I do want it really bright. And I do want those distinctions, but people would go to the site.
Won't see it. I've grown fond of this ma I do think in a way, this flattening out the colors has been good thing I did do. Some really amateur calibration, because he used to have a little business that was selling cards and we used to print those cards as well. So I had to give the printers a version of it.
So I did have a real good attempt initially when we had a good printers to print them out and look at the colors and then try and adjust the screen and calibrate it to match them. Exactly. And it's very difficult to when you've got full glossy going on you, the vibrancy of something like the magenta.
Color that comes through. You just don't see in print.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:36] That's it. Yeah. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:23:39] Quite get that vibe, that the vibrancy that you see in print. And I just think sometimes if you're, if you've only worked on the, the web designing things here to try and get this brand coloring, that's going to work on print and the screen.
I think you have to be quite conscious of that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:55] Yeah, that, and of course that's the point, right? Is that we're designing something and we're looking at it on our own screen. And in most cases, everything will be 100% fine. But the, I think what we're dealing with really is the subtleties around the edges, that the little things, which you think are very clever, where you've contrasted things, which are just about detectable, it may be that they're completely.
In detectable undetectable into, I dunno, one of those words. and so it makes us think a little bit more, maybe you need to be inspecting these designs in the same way that you worry about SEO and you worry about fonts and you worry about all of that. You need to worry about the way it actually looks on different monitors.
You need to try this on, on your cheap monitor, your map, monitor your expensive glossy, monitor your whatever. You need to try it on a bunch of things and see. If it's visible because honestly my monitor on my left. aye. I swear that F six is white and yet on my monitor, there is no doubt. It's so far away from white.
It just doesn't even look vaguely white. It's really interesting.
David Waumsley: [00:25:01] Yeah, I've had to move. instantly I saw that if I was going to use
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:05] a
David Waumsley: [00:25:06] FFA, which is really just one up from Y to which I could see on my wife's cheap computer. And I thought it was a nice subtlety that I wanted to distinguish Rose is just invisible.
To the majority of people who would be buying a computer now and getting it out by default. never again, will I do that? And it's made me think as well, about some of the hues that are going to be there, that Brown issue does make a difference. It made a difference to a yellow that I picked.
Just, so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:35] yeah, I suppose yellow probably does contain depending on this brightness for want of a better word, it will have quite a bit of the white in it. yeah. Yeah, and then cost this, the whole sort of thing. this gets more and more complicated because there's so many things at play here.
So one thing that I didn't really realize until Peacher told me was that, the browsers don't even display color in the same way. literally they don't use the same. let's say engine for want of a better word for producing the color. And I know that you explored that a little bit.
David Waumsley: [00:26:07] yeah.
And, from what I found really early this morning was that, Firefox and Safari use the SRG B color profile
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:15] where
David Waumsley: [00:26:15] Chrome, and that would include, Microsoft's the edge now has its own system and you can force it to use the same, but most people are not going to do that. They then don't mess around with their browsers.
I will admit though, I tried it. I've switched my Nova and I cannot tell the difference.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:32] Did you, was there a, did you go through like a pallet of different colors to see if there was a difference? Because it strikes me that we're probably on the very edge here of whether something's visible or not.
There might be the tiniest little bit of a difference, but you can hardly imagine that. Firefox and Safari are going to use something which is, wildly different from what Chrome is using and vice versa. but it's interesting. They don't do it in the same way. You can force Chrome to adopt the SRG B profile.
David Waumsley: [00:27:02] Yeah, exactly. I just I'll get to test it out later. I think I'll leave a version of it with it on and then turn it off again on the other one to see if I can compare it, slide by slide, just to see if the difference just out of interest. But that's probably quite sort of one, we don't need to worry about too much, but it's just there.
Isn't there and it's. And I've never thought about any of these issues, really, at least for the last eight years as I've been doing it professionally. because I got used to the tools I use.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:31] Is there any sorts of like quality that, is the other, any factor or number or spectrum or unit that you can use to get an idea of the quality of your monitor?
if you're into buying a new computer, can you, is there a, like a. A unit that you can look for to say, okay, this is an 80% or a 60% or whatever to judge how it's going to look when you finally get it out of the box to avoid the disappointment that you thought you had when you got your new luck.
Oh, my
David Waumsley: [00:28:02] segue, Nathan color gamut. I was looking into this again. This is another misleading thing on my journey for getting a new laptop. I'd never considered. Looking into the details of what my machine's color gamut is. And I'll just read from this snippet, which I think explains it best from somebody's sites.
Most decent, excuse me. Normally, monitors will cover a hundred percent of SRG, B color space, which translates into about 70% of Adobe's RGB space. Anything above 90 is fine. Caught into this article. But displays included some cheap tablets, laptops, and monitors may only cover 60 to 70%. Now the interesting thing is I don't think any of the manufacturers.
Of the devices give you this? The only information I got on my particular model was through people doing their own tests, with their own tools and mind. this is another reason why I sent it back. It came back with a 51%. the cheap ones are supposed to be 60 to 70. Mine was quite an expensive laptop and it was only 51 according to this one test.
But again, I think it's something that we can't rely on. because again, it's something else.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:17] so does this mean then that, okay, so normally let me just re, read that sentence. most decent normal monitors will cover a hundred percent of the SRG B color space. So a decent monitor will cover that.
they'll do sr GB. Perfectly basically, but that's only 17% of the color space which Adobe have used, and they're calling that Adobe RGB space. so is that to say then that Adobe software will. There are colors that you can produce, let's say in Photoshop for want of a better word that you cannot see on some monitors.
They're literally indistinguishable. I don't mean they're. I just mean that, the difference between this one and this one, because they're so close to one another, they're just indistinguishable on a cheap monitor or a monitor, which doesn't have this 60, 70, 80, 90%, whatever. But on other monitors they would be distinguishable.
David Waumsley: [00:30:15] It must be. you do see
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:17] with the
David Waumsley: [00:30:18] SRG, the color space that they'll go over the a hundred percent. So this is a hundred and something which will be closely matching Adobe's. But it's interesting, isn't it. If we go right back to the early web, and even when I started, it was still advised to use web safe colors, the 216 colors that were safety use on the web.
Now we're in. Billions of colors that people talk about. Do you want to talk about the money?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:45] Do you still stick with that though? do you still look up palette 116 colors or do you just, whatever, you use that color picker, which is virtually able to produce anything and you just settle on one that you really like.
David Waumsley: [00:30:58] Yeah, it's not relevant now, is it? Hasn't been for quite a long
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:01] time now
David Waumsley: [00:31:02] over 10 years. And I think, unless you have to support devices that go, it must be even more than 10 years, 15 years now. I think no one has to worry about that, but it is fascinating. The fact that there are some people who just got just, Sumption is right.
They've got to see colors. We can even see. because it got better monitors.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:22] Yeah. that's interesting. And of course the, I guess though, that as time goes on the quality of the monitors and the ability to approach a hundred percent of this Adobe RGB space will get better and better. after all the technology is it's light emitting diodes really isn't it's just whatever they can produce, in tandem with one another.
maybe they'll just get better at that. And for me, The way that I normally try to achieve what I'm trying to achieve on the screen is just through the brightness buttons on my mind, I just turn it up and I turn it down. I have never fiddled with the color calibration on my Mac. I'm just.
Totally assuming that Apple had given it a fairly decent set of defaults, but I'm just turning it up and down. And that brings us to the lovely unit knit.
David Waumsley: [00:32:10] Yes. And we discovered didn't we, you checked it out and you've got a lot on it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:14] yes. So it would seem, so my Mac, the one that I've got, the particular model I've got is calibrated in it.
300. And 20 nits and knits again, forgive our ignorance here. Next is basically we think a measure of just how literally how much power it can push out how much light it can emit. imagine I was using my Mac outside in the dark and I'd got the screen on full brightness and it was just white FFF.
If I was to turn it round and try to eliminate the environment. My Mac could do 320 nits of that. And if you have one that did 150, you would eliminate less of the environment. It's just less power behind it. But mine is, seems like that's all been left in the dust now because the latest Macs are up into the sort of five, five 50 nits.
So it's considerably brighter and. Whilst on the face of it, maybe that's a good thing. It feels to me like we're just pushing more light into our eyes and causing tiredness again.
David Waumsley: [00:33:18] Yeah, it's crazy. Isn't it? It's the thing to one, the more knits, the better,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:22] all these
David Waumsley: [00:33:25] it's the same, it's a measure like lumen, is, but it's apparently more accurate that measurement is an actual measurement of what your eye is going to see with knits.
But yeah, we want to have the right to have more knits. Yeah. But most of the time we want to seem to want to be able to. Turn down that
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:42] glare. So it is interesting though, because I'm looking, like I said, a minute ago, I'm looking at my monitor, And I've got a Google doc up there. So basically the background to that, and I checked his Ffffff the paper bit is FFF.
And if I turn the brightness down, what kind of this may seem really obvious. But it didn't, to me, the white, as you approach the monitor, being off the white. Tends to black. it's literally the white becomes not white. It becomes a dark thing because the screen when it's off is black. Okay. And so as soon as you turn the brightness down, it's not How to describe it. It's not like all of those colors just got less vivid. They literally go towards being black. So the greys become dark rays. The white becomes much darker gray, and I just, that's quite fascinating to me. So maybe that's the point, The more knits that you can produce the whiter, the white you can produce because on my screen at full throttle, 320 knits that white to me looks like what I would assume whites to be, but clearly turning it down a touch.
It's gone totally different. It's now I still think it's white, but it doesn't look like the white, I had a moment ago.
David Waumsley: [00:35:01] Yeah. Do you know, I meant and post a question about this in the WP Builds Facebook group, and somebody answered about knits. And I think the point that we're making a Sawyer, I forgotten their name.
I should have made a note, but I think they were making the point with Matte screens is probably an argument for, is that. On the whole, we're getting more nits from our laptops. So we can get that brightness that the map screen might be dulling out. So it's getting rid of the, anti-glare the problem of that.
But if we want the brightness where they're able to achieve that more, and I think I'm seeing that even though I'm only as I've checked my now I'm only 250 nits. You're a hundred nits more than me.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:39] I don't know if that's significant, but, my Mac monitor. On full throttle. So there is no more brightness to be added is looking pretty good, quite like it.
And then I've just got my phone, which is not very old. It's probably a couple of years old. It's a, it's a one plus phone and I'm holding it up and it's way brighter. Than the brightest my Mac can achieve. Oh, much brighter. The whites look white, right? So holding whites on my phone next to white on my Mac and suddenly my Mac white, which just seconds ago looked perfectly white, just quite happy that was white.
Now it looks great.
David Waumsley: [00:36:19] do you think a lot of this is I'm in my upset with my screen? Do you think it could just be the fact that it's about getting used to it? Maybe I'm more of a fan of this laptop now, second time around, not just because of my adjustments, just because I think my eyes have compensated, perhaps I will be able to see, the FFA once I've adjusted, maybe.
Yeah, it's just the difficulty going from one to the other.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:44] I would imagine that there is a couple of things there. The first thing I would imagine that if the device itself, if the screen itself literally is incapable of demonstrating the difference between, FAF and FFF, then no, you're not going to be able to get used to it.
I'm sorry. You're not gonna be able to see it, but. I think it's quite likely that you just won't care after a couple of minutes. You'll care if it's crucial, if you literally can't tell the difference between rows. Then that's going to tick you off. And I guess the whole point of this is to warn everybody that this is important.
You need to do that. You need to be mindful of those tiny, subtle differences, which we've got, we've referenced white more than anything else, but I'm sure it's the same for yellows and everything. But, but yeah, I would imagine that, yeah. Very quickly, your eyes will just become adjusted to the thing that you're looking at.
So a perfect example is I've taken my phone away, which just minutes ago, demonstrated to me perfectly that my Mac was not as white as the phone was. I've put the phone away and now I'm quite happy that my Mac is white. Again, my brain is totally accommodated. The fact that's white and interesting, this raises a debate about, What is white or any color, I'm sure that's white 20 seconds a minute ago.
I was unsure. I thought it was great. Now. I think it's white. If I showed it to my wife, she'd probably say, that's white, but if I showed her the gray only surrounding the Google doc, which is F eight, I think it is. She'd probably say, that's white. it brings into mind classic thought that I'm sure all children have at some point.
Yeah. Does everybody see you the same green as me?
David Waumsley: [00:38:30] Yes. I know. And then we've got so much colorblindness as well that we, if we were really thinking about this, probably not the screens that we need to worry about is having a bit of a knowledge about the common colorblindness. Is there are there, I think there's something like.
25% of males or something. I shouldn't make up figures like this off the top of my head. We should check it out. But a there's a really high number of males who have a form of colorblindness.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:55] Yeah. Yeah. When you say colorblindness, I always think of the literal black and white vision, you can only see shades of gray and I have a friend who is just simply unable to distinguish if memory serves.
I'm pretty sure it's yellow. If you show him something yellow and show him something red. They're both
David Waumsley: [00:39:14] red.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:15] Everything tends to read. In other words, on the yellow side of things, he can see red and he can identify red as red, but he can't distinguish yellows, I believe is right. And that's just fascinating as well.
So all these carefully thought out designs that you're trying to lead people in with your clever yellow color palette is totally gone to him. Just no consequences.
David Waumsley: [00:39:36] Have you done one of those tests? You can get them online now. Can't you the test switch check for colorblindness.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:42] Oh, I'm going to do that.
David Waumsley: [00:39:44] Oh, find them online. They're great fun. because you have to identify a letter or a number within these little blobs of color with slight differences between them. So they will tend to be like that reds and there'll be some reds and yellows mixed in with some oranges. And if you can pick out the number nine or something in this, because you can see the distinction between this particular sort of yellow or whatever, it's really good,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:06] but wait, hang on.
How does that work? Cause we've just spent the whole time deciding that monitors can't show these colors anyway. So I may very well be that you're staring. So it's complete fraud.
David Waumsley: [00:40:18] There is no difference there. The
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:20] monitor is responsible, perhaps it's not
David Waumsley: [00:40:23] their
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:23] online. I presume they are using some sort of website, color
David Waumsley: [00:40:27] scheme.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:28] That's hysterical. Do you think we've covered this?
David Waumsley: [00:40:32] I think so maybe just a couple of things to point out, because I wanted to know when I was looking into this is which one should you be getting? if you're doing the job that we're doing and you just have to have one monitor, most of us maybe have something to check with, which one would you go for now?
And I was trying to work out, find out if there was any statistics on the way that it's going, whether more people are using glossy or they're using mat. So you've got an idea of what most people are seeing. Couldn't find anything. On it except a few pointers. I think it's pretty clearly the case that the gaming monitors like to put Matte on it and the kind of high powerful laptops will be that.
anything that needs to be touched. So those kind of two in one laptops com pads, or obviously as you say, the phones need to remain glossy. So you can't really predict Kenya. I think when it comes to your regular monitors and your laptops, we're going to see more, anti-glare more matte, but. more people are going to be on their mobiles.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:32] Yeah. I think more devices will be glossy because mobile phones are just taking over. Do you know, for my part, the one deciding factor for me would be, and I think this is a pretty edge case. Cause most people what this won't matter at all, but whether or not you need to work outside. With it. and that is to say that my Mac glossy Mac is basically on usable on a summer's day.
If I'm outside, unless I'm. Cocooned behind umbrellas or gazebos or whatever. And I'm stopping the majority of ambient light. So not just direct sunlight, but sunlight coming from any angle. I can't use it. Cause all I can see is me. and that's that with, ma you won't have, but with the glossy, if the sun is in front of me, so it's behind the screen.
I can see my reflection cause the sun is reflecting off me. And if the sun's behind me, I can just see the sun, a big, bright, shiny blob in the way. And I can't overcome it. And I guess this is what all his nits is about. Isn't it is the ability to overcome. L a ambient light with the light emitted from the screen.
So I can, glossy may be able to cope with that in the future, if it can just literally pump out more light than the reflected light in, but, for me, I'm sticking with glossy. Cause I like it despite the fingerprints, despite the fact that I can't really use it outside, I think it looks crack into me.
David Waumsley: [00:43:00] I got to stick with my map because I it's grown on me and I'm really desperate to go down now to the beach and see if I can actually work on it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:07] Yeah. Just don't take it in the seat. That's my only advice and take it in the seat. Shall we knock it on the head? There
David Waumsley: [00:43:13] it deed.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:14] Okay. Nice. Thanks, David.
Enjoyed that. I hope that you enjoyed that episode. Honestly, there was so much yeah. That I had no idea about before we started researching this. I must say that David did most of the work. I was just riding on his coattails, but it was interesting. Nevertheless, the idea that our monitor can be so different and display such different results.
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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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