Color coding concerns colorblind communities contributively

Lets read that again:

Color coding concerns colorblind communities contributively

I am sure the gray one gray must have been prying on the eyes. No reasonable person would format a piece of text like that right, or what about the navigation on a website? Unfortunately this is exactly how much media and objects are perceived by colorblind people. Be it on the internet or out and about in the physical world, both our and nature’s fascination with color puts them in a continuous game of traversing a landscape not designed for them. Determining whether a banana is ripe enough, is a game of roulette. Picking the right makeup for your skin tone could result in clownish aesthetics.

So what does this directly have to do with the digital world?

Key components of our every day dealings have migrated to the computer sphere. Buying a jacket? Online. Need to sign up for insurance? Online. Reading the news? Online (unless you still buy broadsheets in which case kudos). The plethora of possible actions and interfaces online means certain actions are inevitably not as accessible, just like in the physical setting. Except now, there might not be a bystander to help you, there are little other sensory features to compose understanding and the rapid changes in digital design means no accrued familiarity. Shortly said, signage of colors and graphic design becomes more critical in the digital realm, by virtue of increased vulnerability among colorblind people.   

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Luckily the field of accessible media design has been rapidly expanding the last few years. Let’s go over a few methods you can add to your toolkit for projects over the course of this minor (and beyond!). A Portuguese brand by the name of ColorADD devised a labeling system to explain tints of colors to colorblind people. By attributing different types of high contrast shapes to tints, parts of the visual spectrum can be communicated. This is a great tool which should be standardized for conveying color in everyday life, be it of the jacket we were trying to buy online, or a makeup product that doesn’t turn you into Ronald Mcdonald (unless you like that sort of thing).

Creating these symbols helps color impaired individuals to understand how other types of users perceive the values, it does not however solve the issues of distinction when everything has turned into a slurry of gray tints.

Prevent this by checking for contrast, there are many sites that grayscale and assess web designs on the used palettes. And if you use Adobe programs to make your designs, just click the ‘grayscale’ button for a peek on what I might look like. Also consider the necessity of color in a design. A heart icon is recognizable by its shape, not needing the color red or pink to be distinguished. In other situations someone might overly rely on a color to bring the point across.  

Digital Design for colorblindness/motoric disability/language proficiencies/auditory impairment/…

I hope you got something useful out of it, or at the very least a reminder of this post next time you see hard to distinguish digital artifact; like a website layout. This post was about colorblindness and its vulnerabilities in digital media, though it was meant to encompass accessibility in a wider sense. There is a lacuna in awareness among creators and designers insofar that the famous Industrial Design handbook ‘Delft Design Guide’ contains no direct literature on the topic. Please do share accessibilities issues you have discovered in digital media.  

Acknowledgement:

Thank you evgeniia_o for the topic inspiration and info about ColorAdd