Sunday 20 July 2008

Accessibility and Colour Blindness

Colour blindness has been more relevant to me this year more than previous years on account of having a colour blind student.

While it certainly doesn't make life easier for an Art & Design & Interactive Media student it doesn't make it impossible to work in the design industry either. I did know of a former product designer, who was colour blind, who had a successful career in industry and in teaching.

Even so, as a teacher, it is helpful to have some understanding of colour blindness so I know what to expect, and can help the student develop strategies to cope with areas of difficulty.
One resource I found recently is a website called Vischeck.

Vischeck provides colour blindness simulation tools, including an image previewer, a website previewer and a Photoshop filter. The site also gives information about a Daltonization algorithm for correcting images for colour blind people. All fascinating stuff.

I downloaded the Photoshop filter and installed it for Photoshop and Fireworks. It works fine in both.

I wondered how the normal visible spectrum would look to a colour blind person, and so I used the Photoshop filter to adjust a bog standard colour wheel. The results were truly astonishing:

I just cannot imagine a world so radically different to the one I see now.

Now I know why my student picked a muted grey/green instead of a vibrant green to represent grass in a client visual. To them they looked the same.

This insight into how colour blind people actually see the world is probably the most valuable outcome of this find. Meanwhile the Photoshop filter will allow me to demonstrate it to other people, and to gauge usability of my own designs.

No comments:

Post a Comment