A Quick Guide to Color Blind Design: How to Present Data to Everyone
Reduced color perception or the capacity to distinguish between colors are symptoms of color blindness. Color blindness affects 1 in 200 women and 1 in every 12 men. Do digital resources like websites and educational materials affect color blindness?
Absolutely! Consider accessibility best practices when creating online documents to ensure that your website or online products are accessible to all visitors.
Color blindness explained
A widespread myth is that color-blind people can only see the world in black and white, a different condition termed monochromacy. In actuality, color blindness affects everyone differently, ranging from being unable to distinguish between two or three colors to having trouble with certain tints.
This X-chromosome mutation caused this neurological anomaly. Women are less likely to inherit the illness because they have two X-chromosomes, one of which serves as a backup to offset probable problems. The disorder normally shows itself in one of three ways.
Red/green color blindness is the most prevalent type, when victims confuse all colors that contain either red or green as a component of the entire hue. Those with Protan color blindness are less sensitive to red light, whereas Deuteranopia patients are less sensitive to green light.
For instance, a protanope will mistake blue for purple because they are unable to distinguish the red component of the color purple. Tritanopia, the third type of color blindness, is the least prevalent and affects those who have trouble telling whether a light is blue or yellow.
Importance of Color in Presenting Data
The use of color is crucial for data visualization. To begin with, colors are used to draw attention to significant information and to show connections between different sorts of data. Furthermore, it is important in directing the viewer's eye to color.
Though understanding color theory and design composition is crucial, there are other factors to take into account when optimizing for accessibility.
Designing for Inclusion
What happens when a design is interpreted differently than it was intended? If your workplace is still not using an inclusive design approach, there is a good possibility that this is already taking place.
Keep in mind that we don't want you to work twice as hard on your designs—quite the opposite. Instead of developing specifically for this group, the objective is to take their needs into account when creating a product that is accessible to all.
This approach should be used when creating additional visuals, such as flow charts, mind maps and graphs, all of which frequently rely on color to convey distinct information, rather than only when developing website layouts.
You can rely on online tools such as an infographic maker or an infographic template library to create inclusive visuals.
The Guide to creating an inclusive design
1. Create a color palette in advance.
Utilizing accessible colors and a colorblind-friendly palette doesn't need you to sacrifice aesthetics or completely exclude color from your charts. By doing your research in advance, you can make sure that a color blind-friendly palette enhances rather than detracts from your design.
There are a variety of 8- and 15-color palettes available if you're starting from scratch. You can see some of the best contrasting colors for colorblind persons in these palettes.
2. Choose the color scheme.
Consider all the different ways contrast may be used in your designs to increase color-blind accessibility. Employ vivid hues rather than subdued alternatives.
Use colors that are as dissimilar from one another as you can when you need to employ two colors next to one another. Also, you must examine how to optimize contrast among dynamic elements while thinking about color blindness and online design.
Which hues are used for buttons and hyperlinks? And what happens to these colors when a site visitor moves their mouse over the element? In these circumstances, you might need to draw attention to the element by surrounding it with color.
3. Employ textures and patterns.
A fantastic technique to include visual aspects in your design that don't rely on color is to use patterns and textures. For instance, color-blind users could find it challenging to understand graphs and charts. In this instance, it's preferable to employ contrasting patterns and, whenever it's practical, to use text in its place.
Those who are colorblind might not trust colors as much as those with normal vision. They frequently perceive colors differently from how others do, hence they frequently rely on non-color cues to confirm hues or decipher meanings.
4. Keep contrasting colors to a minimum.
The use of problematic color combinations, some of which can render your charts or infographics totally inaccessible to color-blind individuals, is another reason why you should think out your color strategy in advance.
Avoid the following color combinations to protect people with color blindness:
- Green and red: The red-green kind of color blindness is the most prevalent. Protanopiacs are unable to see any "red" light, while deuteranopiacs are incapable of seeing "green" light because they lack green cones.
- Brown and green: For people who have red-green colorblindness, the light brown can resemble the green color and the dark green might be perceived as brown. Hence, colorblind individuals are unable to tell the two hues differently.
- Blue and green: When it comes to the red-green variety, light green appears as yellow and dark green as brown. Turquoise or blue-green is seen as gray.
- Gray and blue: A person who is red-green colorblind might not be able to distinguish the green hue of turquoise and instead see it as gray.
- Purple and blue: Those who suffer from protanopia cannot see the color purple; instead, they perceive it as a deep blue.
- Gray and green: It is best to avoid this color combination depending on the hue of the blue and gray.
- Black and green: Protanopes are more likely to mistake various colors of red for black.
5. Create a monochrome chart.
Consider making your chart monochromatic because color blindness has no effect on the capacity to discern between various shades. Naturally, using a limited color palette will result in less opportunities to apply unfavorable color combinations.
6. Keep your design simple and straightforward.
Your infographics should be as straightforward and organized as feasible when creating for accessibility. Whether or not your audience is color blind, taking a minimalistic approach will assist make your presentations easier to understand.
Featured Image by Denise Chan on Unsplash