Every time someone discovers that I am color blind, I always get the same question: “So what color is this?” 95% of the time I’ll answer correctly, which is always followed by “Wait, if you can tell this is {insert color}, how are you color blind?” What do you see? “This is where the joy of explaining how color blindness works and how it affects me comes in.

As designers, we constantly worry about readability, how engaging the content is, whether the impact goals are big enough, or whether a user can navigate through a workflow. But we often forget about one in ten color blind people. Too many times I downloaded an app or game only to find that using it was a huge pain. I am often unable to distinguish one object from another or determine how something is labeled.

If 1 in 10 users find your app difficult or even impossible to use, your ratings and reviews will drop dramatically. So how do we test this? How do we solve the problems? And how can we avoid problems arising to start with?

Where we “see” the problems

Being color blind does not mean that you cannot see any color. My life is not without nuances; looking through my eyes is not like watching a Hitchcock movie.

I don’t miss any color, I see them all. I just have trouble labeling or differentiating them. When the leaves change color in the fall, I don’t always see the reds, oranges, and yellows. I may only see orange or sometimes I barely notice the change and the leaves go straight from green to brown. That said, when designing applications, we shouldn’t look at individual color blind glasses malaysia  colors and wonder if they are “visible”, but rather look at groupings of colors and see if they can be distinguished. Even then, we may need more visual aids to make sure users don’t mistake one color for another.

Successful applications

Some apps and programs have done a great job of serving those with color blindness. Trello, a web-based application that allows users to organize tasks, does a great job of allowing a user to activate a color blind mode. This little feature allows a user, like me, to quickly distinguish between labels.