I am currently in the process of starting to formalize my mathematics notes, both hand-written and digital. In that I have reached somewhat of a conundrum. I have learned both through practice and formal education that colorization can help the students visualize and learn the material better.

My question is about if and if so how colorization should be used.

The website Better explained has a longer article discussing the benefits of colorization. Here is one example

enter image description here

In my opinion this explanation is somewhat cluttered, there are too many colors in addition the purple and magenta are to similar. I have a couple of suggestions to improve this

  • Highlight one color at a time (this could easily be done in a beamer presentation), however I am afraid this would consume too much time.
  • Have one color for variables, one for constants the rest remains black.
  • Everything black.

Are any of the suggestions above good, or are there better solutions I have not considered? Any feedback is appreciated.


closed as off-topic by Morgan Rodgers, mrf, NCh, Strants, Cesareo Jun 5 '18 at 22:17

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." – Morgan Rodgers, mrf, NCh, Strants, Cesareo
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I agree that this example is bad, In general, I don't like colors at all. If you must, then every once in a while you can highlight one particular part of an expression to call attention to it. Note that some readers are color blind and won't be able to tell red from green, maybe neither from black. $\endgroup$ – Ethan Bolker Jun 2 '18 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ This question is not about mathematics. It would maybe be a better fit on matheducators.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Morgan Rodgers Jun 2 '18 at 14:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Make all black and drop the confusing part that starts with "To" $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Jun 2 '18 at 14:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think colours can be used in a helpful way, but in the example you showed it definitely confuses more than it helps. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Jun 2 '18 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ @HagenvonEitzen: Seems a bit like your suggesting "don't ever say or write anything". In this way btw. you never will make mistake. $\endgroup$ – Rudi_Birnbaum Jun 4 '18 at 4:32

This is rather a soft question - it's primarily opinion-based and not entirely on topic.

Personally, colours don't help my learning, understanding or retention of a specific concept. The psychedelica of the equation is rather confusing, and when you start trying to work with even more complex equations, the result is far too complicated. What's more, with all these wild colours trying to grab our attention to the important details, the question is: which bits are actually the really key ones? If you picked the key detail, the bit people will forget and highlight that, sure, or highlight an equation in one colour, that is a perfectly valid strategy I have seen many fellow students use, but the way you are doing it is, in my opinion, ineffectual and counterproductive.


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