A world without color
Everyone knows there are people who are color blind, and others who carry the genetic defect. But nobody talks about that. It’s a secret. In all my working years, I’ve no recollection of someone sharing with me they have the disorder. (Color blindness affects millions of people worldwide. It affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women.)
I’ve read about a set of glasses that correct red/green color blindness. Seems someone with genius found a way to make glasses that offset the color of a lens to correct one type of color blindness. Color blind see color for the first time video – this is awesome BTW! [hint: correction glasses cost about $350]
I’ve given talks about designing web pages with color blindness in mind. It’s a strange concept for many people.
But most people with colorblindness find it only slightly problematic. It’s the type of disability people easily overcome – leave a comment if you disagree.
To help those who are straining their minds with understanding colorblindness, a tool has been developed which allows you to experience images as someone with color blindness.*
When looking at your design work, try looking at the color choices you’ve made through a new lens.
More importantly, when choosing to use color as a primary information choice, think if you are leaving those hiding in the color-blind shadow.
Color mapping for statistical analysis is one of the problem areas I’ve witnessed in my career. When the data is represented only by color, they may see the following graphic and not understand it’s meaning.
Here is a graphic I designed to give you an idea of how to represent color and then provide a secondary method for adding meaning.
*The Color Blind Simulation function is copyright (c) 2000-2001 by Matthew Wickline and the Human-Computer Interaction Resource Network ( http://hcirn.com/ ). It is used with the permission of Matthew Wickline and HCIRN, +and is freely available for non-commercial use. For commercial use, please contact the Human-Computer Interaction Resource Network ( http://hcirn.com/ ).
Several views of the same picture