Color blindness is defined as a lack of color or deficiency of color in someone’s vision. We are able to perceive color as a result of the function of cone cells in the retina. These cells detect 3 colors: Red, Blue and Green. There are different receptors present for each color and the malfunction of any of these receptor cells causes the blindness of that respective color which it receives. The most common type of blindness is red-green deficiency. This means patients either lack red color receptors, green receptors or in some exceptional cases lack both. It should be noted here that color blindness affects 8% of men and 0.5% of women. Wikipedia defines color blindness as:-

Color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD) is the decreased ability to see color or differences in color.[2] The severity of color blindness ranges from mostly unnoticeable to full absence of color perception.

Color blindness makes life difficult for it’s victims and hence why it is important for data scientists, web developers to keep such people in mind when designing a website. Here are 5 ways you can use to make your website color friendly.

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Rely on other sources except color

An easy way to make your website color friendly without compromising much is to not rely solely on color for your design. Try to grab your user’s attention through other means except color. When you use other means to grab user attention, you cater to both types of audiences and achieve your purpose as well. If you have to rely on color then be sure to combine it with something else like an error message or a symbol to make navigation easy for color deficient people on your website.

Use icons and symbols for the color blind

Similar to what was mentioned above, the usage of other things except color such as icons and symbols in your design can heavily influence how color friendly your website is. To make website navigation easy for your users and to direct them to certain points on your website, utilize icons and symbols such as exclamation marks etc. You can even combine these with color.

color blind
image credit: the velvet principle

Utilize textures and patterns

When there is a need to emphasize certain objects then a good idea to make your website more user friendly for color blind audiences is to incorporate textures or patterns. When dealing with charts and graphs, This technique is especially helpful because color is usually used to differentiate between objects but the usage of textures or patterns can replace color. It is also a good idea to use alt text for people who are unable to perceive visually.

Labels instead of colors

Although texture, patterns, icons and symbols are all very beneficial. To add to the list of items you should incorporate to achieve a more color friendly design would be labels instead of colors or with colors. Using labels to differentiate between items/products or point towards something on your website can be highly helpful. For example, If you’re selling a certain product in different colors then labelling each product would help color blind people know what exactly they’re buying from you.

Use color contrast

If you use color contrast properly, you can make website components stand out to all sorts of users. In addition to hues, if you also play with brightness and tone then you can make elements look blended to people with vision deficiencies. Adjusting brightness and tone doesn’t just make your website color friendly but boosts overall aesthetics as well. Check color contrast on your website here.

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