cathedral tunnel effect

A somewhat bland webpage:

BEFORE screen 8K page weight.

You may say, “Fast. Yes. But it’s pretty boring.” It’s DELIBERATELY boring. But there is no waiting. NOTE: The background color is not “black” but #333333, a very dark gray. Using black on screen produces a color that isn’t naturally seen in nature. It can appear surreal. Toning it down helps.

Why Build a Boring Page?
Here’s why – the next page is this one:

Black text over yellow flower petals. BEFORE adding purple.

It’s as if the following screen just “bloomed.” It appears bigger and lighter than if it were the lead page. Psychologically, this effect was used for centuries by architects. I call it the “Cathedral Tunnel Effect.”

Cathedrals were deliberately built with a dark constricted passage or entrance hall that once you step out of it and into the grand hall caused an awe-inspiring reaction. I’m not calling my demonstration that dramatic. But it can be put to good use. It also works well when switching the first pages dominant color to a “complementary color” on the following web page. I’ve seen this done and it’s beautiful. Think of it as using a full-coverage solid complementary ink color on the inside cover of a catalog or magazine. If you’ve seen that, you know what I’m talking about.

The effect is based on a physiological phenomenon inside the eye where the cones reverse and pleasure is actually generated in the brain from the visual stimulation. This effect is “free” and – as a bonus – speeds up page loading because it is basically using HTML color which is a simple code, not a heavy image file.

It then seemed the next page with the former black-text-over-yellow-flower appeared bland or flat. Switching the text color to a purple helped – but not the same purple (#330033) as on the HOME page. It had to be lighter (#330066). The eye read the dark purple (#330033) text as black with all that surrounding yellow.

Purple text over flower petals. AFTER.

This is an optical effect known as “simultaneous contrast.

Simultaneous contrast is most intense when the two colors are complementary colors. Complementary colors are pairs of colors, diametrically opposite on a color circle: as seen in Newton’s color circle, red and green, and blue and yellow. Yellow complements blue; mixed yellow and blue lights generate white light.

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