Here are two nightmare phrases:
- Glossy paper.
- Glossy screens.
Seriously, who is the idiot who decided that glossy paper and glossy screens should be a thing? No, seriously, who?
Let’s get the glossy paper out the way first, since it’ll be the quickest to cover.
Here’s a photo I took of a random short paragraph from a random textbook. Wow, it looks so easy to read, right? There may as well be a bottle of Tipp-Ex spilled down the middle of the page! Shifting the page isn’t very convenient, especially when there are two eyes to keep the glare out of (unlike just the one camera lens in this photo) and in well-lit areas, as in just about any public space. Even if just shifting the page a little does the trick, that usually just results in the glare being over some other text. Great. Way to make reading books hard.
Up next are glossy screens, which are pretty much everywhere.
In the photo above, we have matte screens on the left, glossy screens on the right, laptops on the top and tellies on the bottom. The camera has performed its auto brightness magic on the walls behind the screens in each image to avoid oversaturation. Since it’s winter and there’s no way I’m going to get the same image on each screen with the same brightness, all the screens are off. I couldn’t find a glossy desktop monitor or matte touchscreen (excluding e-ink), so that’s the end of that idea.
If we look at the two matte screens, they both look about the same: an empty void of nothingness. Look over to the glossy screens, however, and you will see a wall of some description in the top photo, a dining room table with chairs in the bottom and myself in both.
This may seem dumb, as not many people stare at a blank screen, but you get similar results with an image on the screen and bright lights or sunlight, and of course, dark scenes in movies and whatnot.
The issue is that so many devices now come with glossy displays and so many textbooks are printed with glossy paper, making them just about unusable in some conditions. Try using your glossy fingerprinted laptop in direct sunlight and let me know how you get on. It’s not ideal for a matte display either, but you’re much better off.
Can you think of any advantages for glossy over matte? I can’t.