Is high contrast mode really useful?
In most operating systems and on some websites there is a high contrast mode, intended for use by visually impaired people. I have doubts, however, whether using such mode makes any sense - from what I know, such people usually decrease their screen resolution to make everything bigger. I don't know anyone that would really use the high contrast mode.
For me it appears as hardly readable and far from "easy to use". There are (almost) no colors! Is there any rationale behind it? Do you know anyone that uses this mode?
How about a room that is intentionally dark or at least darker, such as industrial, laboratory or factory environment where high light emission is distracting and straining, or screens are on 24/7. Compare with a satnav night setting, for example.
See also http://ux.stackexchange.com/q/26331/7627 which might even be a duplicate reall
High contrast black is so much better on my eyes and I am using Microsoft Word. Removing the glare from the screen and seeing a black background with white writing is much easier on my eyes. I can feel it straight away. When I revert to the normal screens the glare is annoying. Try it and if you like it, use it. Working under florescence light is better in high contrast black. I look at computer screens all day.
As a person with low vision affected by glare, I find high contrast white on black so much easier on the eyes! The only time I switch back is to use apps that do not conform and end up hiding text with black on black.
Yes, the high contrast works very well, the problem is that many interfaces are poorly designed and the high contrast is just too little help to overcome the design flaws and sometimes works against the user.
A typical problem is the font used for menus and texts, is very common that the font used is not really good for screen and that it was designed for printing, or the size is too small. To that you may think that you can increase the size of the fonts or decrease resolution; well, that works, kinda, lowering the resolution, usually is in big steps, and is common to loose big parts of the interface outside the window and the scrolling back and forth doesn't help. Increasing the font, is usually a better solution, but again, some fonts don't scale well.
Other problem is white space; when you use high contrast, you should increase the space between features, like borders, decorations, icons, etc.
Finally, high contrast is good, but exactly opposites are bad, changing the typical black over white to the opposite is a terrible idea and I've seen that a few times.