aaSsessMyVS Review – Is black text on white background right for you?

On August 29, 2013

App Type: Uncategorized

aaSsessMyVS Review – Is black text on white background right for you?

Our rating:

By: aardwearing software

Version #: 2.1

Date Released: 2013-04-11

Developer: aardwearing Software Limited

Price: 4.99

User Rating:

iOS Simulator Screen shot 20 Mar 2013 16.00.37

Now we are going back to school, college or work there is something we all share. Reading a lot of text. Be it text for your courses, dissertation, sales report or what your favourite band is doing right now, we all read a lot. And most of us read black text over a white background. So, what’s the matter? Isn’t this what we are supposed to do?

It’s hard to explain to some people. If you are a programmer, web developer or basically stare at computers with tons of monospaced fonts for very long stretches, chances are you have selected a colour scheme that has (for sure!) a background which is not white, and a font which is quite likely not black. I don’t have specific numbers, but a huge percentage of this segment use color themes like solarized-dark or solarized-light, which have softy, pastel like fonts and backgrounds. The late Dennis Ritchie (computer scientist who helped develop the Unix operating system, which is philosophically at the core of current Linux and OS X distributions, as well as iOS and Android) used an editor named Acme, which has a fixed, yellow pastel background.

So, as you can see people who use computers a lot tweak the colours on-screen for readability. Turns out this is not because programmers are special: 1 out of 20 people are easily diagnosed with scotopic sensitivity syndrome. It sounds awful, but basically means that your brain-eye circuits are better suited for black over some colour which is not white.

Actually while reading the description of aaSsessMyVS, I remembered that a long time ago I read that some dyslexics could improve their reading by wearing coloured glasses (which turn the white background into non-white…) And now I know why. You probably don’t realise it, but symptoms of this problem include migraines, blurry text and words that seem to be too close together. aaSsessMyVS is an app to easily self-test you to choose the best background colour for your reading.

The test is simple for the user to take, and is focused on getting you to assess what text is easier to read, depending on the background. It’s not a definitive yes-no experience, but it is actually split in 6 phases to make sure the selected colour is the best for you. A companion app (aaLuminate) allows you to take full advantage of this testing. aaSsessMyVS is a universal app, tested in a wide range of devices with iOS versions ranging from 4.3 to 6, and fully optimised to work with iPhone 5.

This is a very useful test to take if you are suffering from tired eyes, migraines and blurry text. And is incredibly invaluable for teachers and education professionals to make sure your students aren’t suffering from it: being unable to read because the background is at fault is no joke.

Quick Take


Would I Buy Again:Maybe.

Learning Curve:Low.

Who Is It For:Anyone. It's likely you suffer a mild form of this.

What I Like:Raising awareness of this condition.

What I Don't Like:That some programs don't let me choose background colour.

Final Statement:Recommended.

Read the Developer's Notes:

aaSsessMyVS is a handy assessment tool to check whether colour overlays will help you, your friends and family or your children to read more easily by avoiding a common source of visual stress.

Recent studies indicate that up to 5% of the general population find their reading speed increases by more than 25% when the correct shade of coloured overlay is used to change the look of the page.
Some dyslexics and migraine sufferers are among those that can benefit from employing such overlays. The precise shade required varies from person to person.

Sufferers from this form of Visual Stress also known as Meares-Irlen syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome can often be dazzled by bright white backgrounds to text.

Commonly experienced symptoms of sufferers when trying to read include...
-Text is blurry,
-Text moves around,
-Words spaced too close together/too far apart,
-Worm, river or waterfall type patterns appear on page
-Pain, nausea or dizziness.

If you're at school, these sort of experiences could make it very unpleasant to read and so it's that much harder to learn properly.
You may even be unaware that there is an issue affecting your ability to read - until you see how much better reading is with the right coloured overlay.

aaSsessMyVS costs as little as a few cups of coffee and it takes only a few minutes to assess someone you are responsible for.
As 1 in 20 people really seem to benefit from colour overlays when reading, that's not much to spend for some peace of mind.
For those who discover that coloured overlays would be helpful, there is a sister app aaLuminate(already available in App Store)to give you the right overlay on your device whenever you need it.

See a video of aaSsessMyVS v2.0 in action at


The test used in the app follows a similar pattern to traditional assessments that use physical coloured overlays placed over a piece of text and compared side by side.

aaSsessMyVS is a useful tool to determine quickly whether a formal test for Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome would be appropriate for any of your students.
It includes the ability to email the result of the test to an email address of your choosing, including the test subject name and an additional note.
So you can screen a whole group of students in 1 session and store the results in your email inbox to follow up on afterwards.


Most of the testing for version 2.0 has been carried out on an iPad mini running iOS 6.0,
Some additional testing has been performed on
iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3 devices running a variety of versions of iOS from 4.3 up to 6.0

Any iPod touch, iPhone, iPad or iPad mini running iOS 4.3 or above.

The app runs very happily on any of these devices but it's ideally suited to the larger screen size of the iPad and iPad mini if you have access to one.

Article By

Ruben Berenguel is finishing his PhD in Mathematics while writing in mostlymaths.net about being a 'geek of all trades'. He also happens to be the senior editor in the What's on iPhone network: any complaints go to him!

ruben has written 174 awesome app reviews.

You can read other great content from ruben at https://www.mostlymaths.net