Within the last like hour or so, the highlighting for many languages appears to have changed. Browsing questions now, I'm seeing code like this:

Python Example

And this:

C Example

I have to say, as a red/green colorblind individual, this is much harder to read. I think the def in the Python and a few other things are purple, because they don't look black, but I can't even tell for sure. That means that the only coloring that I see here is red, which is itself not a great color for many people.

I'm assuming this is linked to the highlight.js change, but I'm finding it much harder to distinguish different elements after the change. It's unlikely that I'm the only one who's affected by this if this is due to colorblindness.

For reference, this is what I use:

My Theme

It's the "Darcula" default in Pycharm. The white text is a much better contrast. Maybe I'll just go with @Spevacus' suggestion and get used to the dark theme on SO; especially if this isn't a widespread issue. Here's Stack Overflow's dark theme for reference:

Stack Overflow Dark Theme

(Softer blacks and whites would maybe be a little easier on the eyes though.)

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    I'm also red-green colorblind. Can confirm: On light theme, the colors are difficult to parse correctly. Not a problem while using dark mode, though.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 16:51
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    Series of dumb questions - is it possible to trivially simulate colorblindness for testing and what would a colour kind friendly theme be like? Also the contrast between the inky purple and black isn't that great for me either and I am not colour blind Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:34
  • @JourneymanGeek I actually don't know how simulate it. I imagine that "filters" exist to show how an image looks. I guess my main issue is, when I'm constantly flipping between snippets of code that I've never seen before on SO, the more hints I have about code structure via coloring at a glance, the less draining the code is to read. This may not even be a color blindness issue if you're having issue differentiating. The new theme, to me, just gives you too little to work with. There's basically red and blackish. And red apparently means both numeric literals, and function/variable names. Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:42
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    The old theme had a few subtle hints that you could pick up on over time. I don't personally care what the exact theme is. I just think a bit of contrast and variation would help a ton. Code looks "washed out" right now. Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:44
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    Actually, now that I look at a before/after, the main difference is the addition of more red; it otherwise looks just as colorful. Idk, sorry. It's hard to explain, but I find the new theme harder to read. I thought it was because of reduced contrast, but it doesn't look like that's changed very much. The red might require more effort to differentiate between other colors due to me having less sensitivity to it? Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:54
  • toptal.com/designers/colorfilter?orig_uri=https://… might work but it's tiny. I wonder if I can wrangle wolfram alpha to do this... Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 2:30
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    Hey folks, we're taking a look into this internally. We did do some testing with color blindness using the new-ish Chrome accessibility tools. These tools are ok for a general test, but as with anything involving the human body, the amount people are affected will highly vary from individual to individual. For those of you with colorblindness, what are some themes you enjoy using? That would give us a bit of a reference point for tweaking.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 14:13
  • @BenKelly Unfortunately, I'm about to leave for work, so I can't post a screen shot at the moment of what I use. From the before/after I viewed yesterday though, I think just reducing the amount of red elements would be a huge help. For some reason, the precense of red makes the rest of the code appear less colorful and harder to distinguish. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this though. Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 14:17
  • In your question, can you link to a sample so we can find out the exact RGB color codes, etc.? And/or list the RGB color code? Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:13
  • @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q Sorry, a sample of which? The theme I use in my IDE? Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 19:07
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    @BenKelly I updated my question at the end. Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 1:59
  • I am reading this using Night Eye and Microsoft Edge. This might be a way of simulating colour blindness. @JourneymanGeek
    – MT1
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


Addressing accessibility issues is something our design team is actively looking into. We don't have a set timeline yet so I've set the status on this to deferred for now and will update it when we have more concrete plans.

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