Accessibility Design

Testing designs for color-blindness

Even experienced designers can find it hard to predict how their work willappear to people with various kinds of color-blindness. Two tools can help.

What toll does color-blindness take on design usability? Even experienced designers and art directors, assuming they think about color-blindness at all, can find it hard to predict how their work will appear to someone with, say, protanopia, the most common form of red-green color-blindness.

Enter Sim Daltonism (donationware), a color-blindness simulator for Mac OS X. Its floating palette filters your web page in real time, showing how the area around your mouse cursor looks to people with many different kinds of color-blindness, including rare as well as common types.

Windows and Linux users, or Mac users who would rather view complete pages than floating palettes, should check out the Colorblind Web Page Filter. In our studio, we use both tools. Here is Happy Cog as its front page may appear to a person with protanopia. (Allow time for the page to load, and don’t all click at once.)

[tags]colorblind, colorblindness, design, accessibility, usability, software, tools, apps[/tags]

By Jeffrey Zeldman

“King of Web Standards”—Bloomberg Businessweek.

Hi! I’m a principal designer at Automattic, Inc. Also: Publisher and founder, A List Apart “for people who make websites.” Publisher and co-founder, A Book Apart—brief books for people who design, write, and code. Co-founder and co-host, An Event Apart UX & front-end conference. Faculty, MFA Interaction Design, School of Visual Arts, NYC. Host, The Big Web Show. Have written two books, notably ”Designing With Web Standards,“ currently in its 3rd Edition, and, on last count, translated into 15 languages and used as a text in 85 universities.