I posted an article about browser safe Web colors. I got an email from Jason saying
\"please don't encourage those newbies out there to produce even more putrid sites based on the antiquated 'web safe' color palette.\"
While his letter then moved from there to being even more offensive towards me specifically, he does have a point even if he felt the need to be rude to make it.
The browser safe Web palette was developed around 1995 or 1996, when it was very common to find computers with 8-bit monitors that could only support 256 colors. This meant that if you used a color scheme that used colors that were not browser safe, they would dither (define: dither) and this could look spectacularly ugly on those screens. I saw instances where a color that was a pretty light green on a high-color monitor ended up looking almost hot pink on an 8-bit monitor.
Who Is Viewing Your Site?
If you don't know who's viewing your site you won't know if you need to accommodate low-color monitors. Using browser safe colors is a safe bet (thus the name \"browser safe\"). And despite Jason's assertion above, it is possible to create nice looking pages using a browser safe color palette. It is sometimes easier to create an ugly looking page using non-browser safe colors. After all, there are more of them!
Choose the Color Palette That's Right for Your Web Site Customers
Regardless of what color palette you choose you should make an informed decision. I chose to use non-browser safe colors on the iris layout because it better matched the iris photo. However, if I knew that I had customers who used 8-bit monitors, I would not recommend that layout and I would switch the colors to browser safe colors.
When you choose your color palette, you should understand color theory so that you get colors that go well together. You should also understand your audience, so that you use the Web safe palette if required.