Poll Results: Light-on-Dark is Preferred

Published by Chris Coyier

This poll asked people if they like their code editor colors "dark code on light background" or "light code on dark background." Turns out about 2/3 of people prefer light code on dark background.

For the first several days after the Poll ran, light-on-dark was winning by a landslide with 90 or more percent. But over the last month, it has settled into 63% of people preferring it and 37% preferring dark-on-light.

Personally I'm surprised it went as low as 63%. In all the places I've worked and places I've visited and such, rarely do I see a coder working in dark-on-light in their actual code editor. In blog posts and the like, dark-on-light is more common for whatever reason. Probably to be more consistent with the writing in which dark-on-light is nearly ubiquitously preferred.

Now that we have some numbers on preference, it's interesting to think about why it is that way. Especially in contrast to writing. Is it because there just happens to be more quality light-on-dark themes available? Is it easier on the eyes for longer periods? Is dark-on-light actually easier to read but harder on the eyes? Is there something about the brain and the type of thinking that coding requires that prefers more dark? Is it the environments around the computer screen that encourage more dark? Jeremy wonders if corrected vision plays a role. Does age play a role? Are there more connections to be found between how people prefer it and other factors?

Normally I let polls run a little longer but I have another idea ready so look for a new poll in the next day or so.