Kewl Site Alert: 'We are Colorblind' Shows Us The World Through Their Eyes

I came across this tweet from SmashingMag the other day which totally peaked my interest:
Turns out that We Are Colourblind is a fantastic resource for those of us who work in web management, user experience and other design-related industries to sensitize us to the fact that colourblindness has a real impact on the usability of the Web (and of course, the real world). Approximately 8% of the male population is colourblind. Now that's a pretty significant number. Especially when you consider that so much of the Internet relies on colour to differentiate information for users. Consider:
  • Error messages whose only special formatting is the use of a red font.
  • Functional buttons that change colour when active or inactive.
  • Links embedded within copy that are only identified using a different colour.
Frankly, this list could go on forever. We Are Colourblind highlights common mistakes and issues both online and IRL in order to sensitize the rest of us to the realities of being colourblind. And since there are so many egregious examples of un-accommodating designs out on the web, the site will probably be around for some time.

The examples include apps, tools and design features that colourblind users find particularly problematic. They provide an overview of the issue and even propose solutions to prevent the problem from recurring. In some of the articles (like this one on Readability and contrast), you can see responses received from the offending sites, and promises to make improvements to address the issues. Talk about effective.

Some of the articles (like this one about having trouble clothes shopping) provide real and honest anecdotes on the small things we might not even think about, being able to see colour. My favourite line is:
The name of the color is sometimes listed on the price tag, in this case it was ‘asphalt’. As I was reading it I realized that I had never thought about the actual color of asphalt. Green, black or maybe gray?
Wow. The things we take for granted. Now imagine if you are using black text, green titles and blue links on a page. If there is not much contrast between them and no other formatting to indicate any differentiation between them, they will all look the same. With that in mind, go back and check your site. If everything came across as being the same colour, could you locate links? Important information?

Check out We Are Colourblind to give you some additional perspective, especially if you work in design or have a loved one with colourblindess (*looks over at her brother* Nope, those socks aren't the same colour, bro.)

By the way, if you're interested in design, you might want to check out UXCampOttawa, coming up October 13-14. We'll have a variety of industry leaders talking about user experience and design, and day 2 is a design jam where teams will take on a design challenge and try to solve it during the day. Disclaimer: I'm one of the co-chairs :)

(Source: SmashingMag)