Joshua Tauberer wrote a nice post about how you can take color blindness into account while choosing a new color scheme.
Based on the confusion lines of the CIE 1931 color space he made a transformation into the CIE LAB color space. In this space equal distances in the color space represent equal amounts of perceptual distance. It’s nice to see that the confusion lines which emanate from a single point in CIE 1931 are in the CIE LAP space represented by parallel lines.
The arrows in the graphic below don’t show the confusion axis but paths that go perpendicular to the confusion lines which will have maximal perceptible differences for a specific type of color vision deficiency.
There are some more nice graphics included in the article and even some code which can be used to generate those. Visit the original article at Designing accessible color spectrums.
Unfortunately I think it is still not that easy for non-colorblind people to choose good colors which are distinguishable even for the strongly color blind among us. But if you stick to less colors with large brightness differences you are always on the better side.
Even if you are suffering from color blindness the iPhone can be used as your little helper tool. Different developers had a look into this niche and developed some nice Apps specially designed to help colorblind people or to educate the ones which don’t know how this looks and feels like.
Having a closer look into the different Apps designed around color vision deficiency I found 5 types or categories which can be used to describe them. Most helpers can be found in the group of ColorNaming. But there are also some interesting tools around CVD Simulation or even CVD Compensation/Daltonizing.
ColorNaming: Name a color from an image or the live picture while usually pointing to it. Some even speak the color or use some special algorithms to get the best fit. There is also a huge range in available color names.
CVDCompensation: In some form try to help colorblind people by adjusting certain colors so you can recognize them. Some even use some enhanced algorithms known as Daltonize.
MatchingColors: Find colors on a picture which match to the one you chose.
ColorHarmonies: Find harmonizing colors. This is certainly a perfect guide for all of us color blind, when we try to find an outfit that fits together!
I suppose HueVue: Colorblind Tools needs to be mentioned specially, as this is the only App which includes not only all of those five categories but it also the only one which tries to give some hints in color harmonies! And on top of that it’s even free to use. So if you have a look into those tools don’t miss that one.
Personally I don’t have an iPhone and didn’t test any of those Apps. So the descriptions are taken from the Apps pages and just altered to fit in. If you have any experience with one or even some of those Apps, please share your knowledge with us in the comments section.
HueVue is a color tool for the iPhone that helps people with color vision deficiencies (commonly referred to as color blindness) to identify, match and coordinate colors. If you or someone you know has trouble with colors, or if you’re interested in a cool color identification, matching and coordination tool, then HueVue is for you!
ColorBlinds Easy is the easy to use tool to help you as a colorblind person to distinguish colors and gain understanding and respect from family and friends for your color deficit by simulation. Daltonize is a method to improve contrast between red and green and with Simulate you can show your family and friends what your world looks like.
Colorblind? Unsure or confused about the color of things. Quickly find out what colors others see and what they call them with Colorblind Helper. With its simple and easy to use interface there’s no more wondering whether you’re wearing a green tie with a red shirt, or a green tie with a green shirt.
The “Chromatic Vision Simulator” is a chromatic simulation tool. It makes a simulated video of each chromatic from the built-in camera and shows you how people with a specific type of color vision deficiency is seeing the world and this in real-time.
Transform your iPhone into a real-time color blindness vision device! This app simulates the most severe color vision deficiencies. It’s all in real-time. Just launch the app and look at the world around you through your iPhone. You will experience how red and green colors all becomes yellow and brown.
“Chromatic Glass” divides the color spectrum into segments so that such colors do not overlap depending on the type of color deficiency a user suffers from. It adjusts lightness and chromaticity of color segments in real-time to further help users to identify colors.
The Color Blind Aid iPhone app enables people with red-green color blindness to detect red and green in their environment and pass color blindness tests in real-time using augmented reality technology. Adjust sensitivity of red or green detection for indoor, outdoor, virbrant, dull, or test conditions.
Colorblind is a game that challenges your ability to memorize and create colors. The premise of the game is simple; after being shown a color, and you must reproduce it. You have a series of ‘lifelines’ at your disposal that add to your strategy…but in the end…only you can determine whether or not you are truly ‘Colorblind’.
Kolorami analyses colours of a picture for the pleasure or to help partially sighted persons. Regular mode uses the camera to analyse the colors of what is in its visual field. The other mode ‘Screenshots ‘ allows you to reach photographs or screenshots stored in the library, to analyse colors.
Colorblind? You are not alone! Nearly one in twelve men, and one in one hundred women are colorblind. But you’re in luck: iSpectrum quickly and easily identifies any color by name! Simply touch your photo wherever you need to know the color and shake your device to reveal the RGB (Red/Green/Blue) components of any color.
Use your iPhone or iPod Touch’s photo library to quickly identify colors. Quickly draw a circle around the test area. The app performs the following:
– identifies the hue, saturation and lightness
– percentage of the test area
– highlights the identified pixels
Color Reader is an innovative concept allowing the user to “touch” camera live video to know the color of something. This is a fantastic way for people who are color blind to check colors. This app has been especially designed using the iPhone accessibilities feature.
Speaks the name of the nearest color in the center of a camera preview pane using speech synthesis. If you lock the exposure and color balance while aiming at something medium neutral gray under your current scene’s lighting, the color naming scheme will be more accurately centered in the RGB gamut.
The perfect tool for anyone who is colorblind. Now you’ll be able to identify the color of anything just by taking a picture of it with your iPhone! Touch anywhere on the image to see the color of that area. Displays color names and shades as well as rgb decimal and hex values. Designed to be quick and easy to use!
Ever looked at something and wandered what color it is? Want to know what name best describes the color you see – or the color you cannot see due to color blindness? Whether you are simply curious, or truly unable to perceive differences between certain colors, Color Curious is for you.
ColorHelper is a small utility designed with the colorblind in mind, but its also of use for anyone interested in knowing the RGB color value for a specific spot in an image. Choose an existing photo or take a photo with the built-in camera, and select a spot where you would like to know the color value.
This application helps you find colors in real-time (augmented-reality) from your iPhone’s camera or photos in your library. There are two modes:
– Live Mode: Play with images directly coming from your iPhone’s camera
– Static Mode: Use images from your photo library or take a new photo
The ColorDetect iPhone app gives you the possibility to detect colors in real time using augmented reality technology. The name and the RGB values of the detected colors are displayed in real time on the user interface. ColorDetect detects the colors with a 5 point detection algorithm to improve the detection quality.
aidColors is an application that allows visually impaired to identify the color of things. Also can be a funny game for children. aidColors allows to perform an easy and fast color recognition by means of the iPhone camera.
Richard, a friend of mine from Great Britain, took this very nice winter picture which he sent to me. He was outside to catch the fresh snow on the trees. And well, he didn’t really realize what different colors he caught on the picture as he is also colorblind.
Only when somebody told him, he was able to spot the red berries!
Can you see the red berries on the tree or not? — You could also use this beautiful winter shot as a simple color blindness test. I’m red-blind and definitely can’t see them.
Pseudoisochromatic plates are the most well known type of color blindness test. The dotted pictures are often referred to as Ishihara plates, becuase Dr. Ishihara developed the first set of such plates which were used all around the world to test for color vision deficiency.
There are many different versions and varieties of pseudoisochromatic plates tests available. Usually they are used as printed tests because it is crucial to get the colors right. Slight changes of the used colors can alter the result and would make a test unreliable. This is also the reason why such tests are usually not used online as display setting, different monitors and surrounding light change the perception of color and therefore the results can’t be trusted on.
Dr. Terrace L. Waggoner, a well known optometrist when it comes to color blindness, developed one of the best known Ishihara plates tests. He made some special research when it comes to pediactric color vision tests and produced Color Vision Testing Made Easy.
His son T.J. Waggoner took now a new way and made some of the pseudoisochromatic plates available as online test. There are two different test sets: One consisting of numbers and a pediactric test consisting of signs. Everybody can take those tests for a small fee. You will find them at Testing Color Vision and don’t forget to use the Colblindor discount code «colblindor» to get 20% off.
It’s nice to have a very good Ishihara plates test available online. Of course, you can find many others but usually those are put together as a set of scanned pictures which results in much lower quality and reliability.
I took the test twice, tried to cheat, but couldn’t spot any of the numbers. The quality of the images is really good.
There is still no study which could tell us more about the validity and reliability of online color vision tests with uncalibrated computer monitors. I heard they are working on it and I’m looking forward to it. But already now I’m quite sure that an online color blindness test of high quality can be as good as a visit to an eye specialist.
The second thing which I don’t like that much is the result of the test. It just says if you are color blind or not but doesn’t tell anything about the severity. This is something people really are looking for and I would strongly suggest to include this in a future release.
Visit the online pseudoisochromatic plates test by Terrace L. Waggoner at Testing Color Vision (Colblindor discount code: «colblindor») and tell me what you think about it.
In my last poll I asked colorblind visitors and readers of Colblindor: “Would You Pay Money to Improve Your Color Vision?” During the ten days of evaluation 280 people joined the poll – thank you very much.
Would you pay money to correct your color vision deficiency?
In the first chart I merged together all the votes which would pay from $1 to more then $10,000 to improve color vision. This gives us a broad view if people are willing to pay money at all.
The result shows, that less than 20% are not willing to pay any money at all to improve their color vision or even cure a color vision deficiency completely. Out of the rest around 60% would spend money for an improvement. Overall around one third would only pay if the actual treatment or used technique would completely cure their color vision deficiency.
How much money would you spend to improve your color vision?
The second chart shows only the votes from colorblind people who are willing to spend money to improve their color vision.
There is a broad range of the amount people would pay to lessen their handicap. The lower end starts at something between $1 and $300 and the upper limit I suppose goes up to several $10.000!
If you look at the graph the votes are quite evenly distributed over the whole range. But on the other side there is something you could call a split between $5.000 and $10.000. I suppose this comes from the fact that some people above that limit are willing to pay almost any amount just to get rid of their color blindness. Below the limit of around $3.000 to $5.000 many people would pay some money but can also arrange themselves with their handicap.
If we strictly just take the lower limits of each range we get an average of around $3.300 which some colorblind people are willing to pay for an improvement of their color vision. This makes an overall amount of almost half a million dollars just for the people who voted on this poll! I wonder how much money you can earn if you really can cure color blindness…
More than one year ago the team around Jay Neitz announced a breakthrough on gene therapy for color vision deficiency in monkeys. As monkeys vision comes quite close to our own vision, there is big hope to get this also working for people.
The following article was written by Anthony Spalding, one of the authors of the site Colour Blindness and Medicine. Please read on what he has to tell us about this interesting topic and visit this great site with a lot of useful information for all colorblind people interested in medical careers.
The aim of the website www.colourmed.com is primarily practical. It is to give information on the practice of medicine for those with colour vision deficiency. There is a sizeable body of evidence that this deficiency is a problem in medicine:
Medical practitioners report difficulty seeing the redness of inflammation and fresh blood in body products.
They have difficulty recognising pallor and the body colour changes of jaundice and cyanosis.
The colour stains in histological preparations can be a problem as can the colour codes used in charts and instrument displays.
There is the risk of medical error with adverse consequences for patients. Moreover, medical practitioners may be anxious about the risk of error and have diminished confidence in their diagnostic ability.
In a survey of colour vision deficient medical practitioners some made remarks such as “You do not necessarily know when you have a problem – others point them out” and “The problem is I do not know what I am missing” and “I feel I am very vulnerable … there are times when patients describe red rashes and I cannot see them and nurses point out the invisible dots.” There are large numbers involved because it has been shown that the prevalence of colour vision deficiency is the same in the medical profession as in the population at large.
The situation in the medical profession is complex without any immediate solution to all the problems it presents. Among these problems are
the varying degrees of severity of the deficiency,
the different demands on colour vision made by the different specialties,
and changing technologies in medicine.
In addition there are at present few with adequate training to give the needed advice. It may well be that optometrists if they are made aware of the medical aspects will be the best group to advise individuals towards their career choice. This will be appreciated by medical students: in a survey of 155 color vision deficient medical students by Burke a common refrain was that they did not get advice and support to help them deal with their problem with colour. Seventy-four per cent of Burke’s sample said that it would be useful in their future career to have a full colour vision assessment so that they knew the type and severity of their defect.
The issues involved are sensitive because the safety and care of patients is involved and also the careers of medical students and qualified doctors. It is not surprising that those responsible for standards in medicine have been reluctant to make definitive statements on this issue. We do not advocate the introduction of a colour vision requirement for entry to medical courses.
We take the view that all medical students who have abnormal colour vision should be aware of their deficiency before entering a medical course, and of its severity, have an appreciation of the kind of problems it may cause in their chosen career, and avoid those careers that may cause unavoidable problems. They will then be readier to seek advice and better equipped to find ways to avoid their problems.
Here is an interesting little story about colorblind people working for the army. This story was published in the Time magazine on the 5th of August in 1940—so quite a while ago.
One man in 20 is color-blind in greater or lesser degree and for that reason ineligible for training as an Army Air Corps pilot or observer. Last week the Air Corps’s School of Flight Medicine reported an interesting incident.
In a plane at Fort Sill, Okla. early this summer, an Air Corps observer was able to spot only ten of 40 camouflaged artillery fieldpieces on the ground. An observer of the Field Artillery in a plane spotted all 40 and accurately plotted their positions on his map. The explanation: the artilleryman, selected under less rigorous examination than the Air Corps man, was colorblind. Camouflage, designed to deceive the normal eye, fooled him not a whit.
Last week, at the School of Flight Medicine, clerks combed the files preparing a list of candidates rejected for color blindness. But the Air Corps still wants no color-blind pilots. A pilot must be able to distinguish between colors in Very signals, field lights, etc., where a mistake would be costly.
During the winter some further steps were taken to work towards this treatment. You can read more about this at Genetic Screenings for Color Blindness. And now there is a survey going on focusing again on this topic:
AlphaDetail, a healthcare marketing research company, is conducting an online survey with color blind individuals. Are you a color blind male who resides in the US and is interested in taking a survey to provide your opinions on potential color blind treatments?
If so, we would like to invite you, to take a 20 minute online survey. Please click on the following link if you are interested in participating and we will send you a unique survey URL within 48 hours: Color Blindness Survey. Please be advised that you will need to answer a few preliminary screening questions in order to determine your eligibility before participating in the survey. Upon your completion of the survey, you will receive an honorarium payment in the mail 2 to 4 weeks from the date of completion.
We look forward to hearing from you.
AlphaDetail Member Services
It would be great if you could join this survey, as it might help all colorblind people to get a possible treatment of this disease in the near future. And please don’t forget to choose Colblindor as your referrer.