Category Archives: Thoughts

Color Coded Power Types

Power Types
Color Coded Power Types

Our local power provider will introduce new power products starting 1st of October this year. They offer water power and ecological water power, solar power, wind power, bio power, nuclear power and much more. For better readability all the different types of power are color coded.

Fortunately they already offer some ready-made mixtures to choose from which not only rely on colors but also are named (something like ecological power package) and described in detail. And also fortunately the decision has to be made only once and can be forgotten until the next rearrangements.

If you look around you there are uncountable things color coded. Sometimes it looks like as if the designers of such color codes take it for granted that everybody can associate the colors to the correct product, prize, line etc. But that’s a misconception. Too many people suffer from some kind of color blindness and this has to be taken into account when colors are used for labeling.

Remember two simple things when you design color codes for your product:

  • Only three distinct colors can be distinguished for sure: A bright one, a medium one and a dark one.
  • Use text, patterns or signs along the color codes to enhance the comprehensibility.

If you follow these simple rules you will not be on the wrong side when trying to get your point across – at least not for the colorblinds.

Further reading:
Stromprodukte ab Oktober 2006 (German)

Related articles:
Playing Trivial Pursuit with a Colorblind
Colorblind Population

Switzerland will Win the FIFA World Cup

Logo World Cup 2006
Fifa World Cup 2006

Only 24 days to go until the soccer world cup 2006 will be kicked off in Germany. There are 32 countries from all around the world fighting for the cup – including Switzerland, my home country, where my heart beats.

Yesterday our national team coach Köbi Kuhn announced the 23-man squad which will travel to Germany next month. But independently who he selected and named on the list or independently if Yakin joins the team or independently if some players were injured during the season, Switzerland will win the World Cup anyway.

Why can I be so sure about this? And how do I know it anyway? If you don’t believe me, keep on reading and I will tell you why my home country will win the race for the cup.

Switzerland Jersey Red
Official Swiss Jersey

The reason why we will win is because it is all dependent on the jerseys the teams are wearing. The jersey of Switzerland is all red – only red and nothing else.

The color red symbolizes aggressiveness, danger, heat, fire and much more. Researches have shown that teams wearing red have a higher probability of winning and are scoring more goals. This doesn’t mean that they are always winning but the probability speaks for them. And if a game is close it is more often the red team which scores the winning goal.

As we Swiss do have a great team this year and it therefore can get close in every game (if we are not winning anyway) the conclusion is: Switzerland will win the FIFA World Cup 2006.

Further readings:
Red Enhances Human Performance in Contests
FIFA World Cup Germany 2006

Related articles:
Olympic Medals
Fuck the Colorblind

LCD Color Perception

Color circles or color wheels are always hard to decypher because to many colors look similar to me. That’s why I came up with the idea of painting my own color circle on the computer.

It already took me quite some time while trying to accomplish this task. And only recently I found out about the different color perceptions when looking at my LCD from different angles. A horizontal angle shift doesn’t have any visible impact. But changing the vertical viewing angle changed the color perception completely.

Color Perception - Red
Color Perception – Red

When you look at the three color squares (the shown numbers are the corresponding RGB values) they might look similar or different to you depending on your color vision abilities. To my eyes they look all the same when I look at them from a 90° angle. But when I change the viewing angle to about 70° the color perception changes a lot: Now they look all different to me.

It is well known that LCD’s have a narrow viewing angle but I couldn’t find any explanation on the internet to this phenomenon of a relation between color perception and viewing angle.

When changing your viewing angle there is a shift in the brightness. It looks like that this shift makes colors to appear different to my colorblind eyes. While some brightness differences seem to disappear a lot more color differences seem to appear. I never experienced this shift in color perception before while viewing images on a computer screen.

This discovery made me think if it is always like that. There are different tests for color blindness. Do they appear different when looking at the images from a different angle and do I maybe get some better test results?

I tried again the Ishihara colorblind test and also had a look at the color blindness testing poster. But there wasn’t any difference observable. I still could not see most of the signs and numbers :-(

Is it just this special arrangement where the distinct colors are shown separately and in distinct boxes? I don’t know yet. Maybe we will find out more about it in the future but for the moment I am puzzled and it will take me some more time to finish my color(-blind) circle.

Update: Looking at this article with its colored boxed at the office with another LCD the differences are more visible to my eyes. The color perception therefore depends strongly on the monitor yuou use. It can change very much when you alter your display or its settings.

Related articles:
A Colorblind Decides on Colors
Walk – Don’t Walk

How to tell if you are Colorblind

Needless to say, if you want to know if you see the world through colorblind eyes you can take some tests and try to understand the results. Usually the tests at least can tell you if you have some sort of color blindness or not even though the results often don’t have a lot in common.

But tests are not always available, you can’t really rely on online tests and a visit to the doctor is expensive. So what to do if you want to know if you, your husband or wife, your child or a friend of you is affected by color blindness and you don’t have a computer with an online connection within reach or don’t want to fill the eye doctors wallet for a simple test?

Have a look at the questions below. If you or your person under observation can answer one or more of the following questions with YES, then most probably you are affected by some kind of color blindness.

  1. Do you sometimes miss a blossom of a plant in springtime because it doesn’t catch your eye at the first sight?
  2. Do you sometimes put on some cloths in which other people think they don’t fit together at all?
  3. Do you think you are a better singer than painter because you never felt comfortable with the color palette?
  4. Do you not like to go shopping for cloths because they do have so many different colors these days?
  5. Do you always miss the start of autumn because you see the colored tree leafs only when others are already talking about it for weeks?
  6. Do you sometimes paraphrase a color because you just don’t want to name it directly?
  7. Do you usually let your wife or husband make the decisions when it comes to colors?
  8. Do you always knew that the real truth lies in black and white?

This are eight questions which try to give you a clue about your color blindness. From my point of view we can even narrow them down to one simple sentence:

Do you feel colors?

If you look at a color you have to feel it and name it, as simple as this. Only as a child you learn them. Later on color names are something you know and you don’t have to think about what color it could be.

Being colorblind means, that you are guessing color names. Maybe just some, maybe all. But you are not sure if you are right or wrong. Arguing about color names is something for people with a good color vision. We colorblind don’t argue, we just take it as the others say if we haven’t guessed it right.

This analogy about perfect pitch and color blindness is a really good explanation to me. Most of us don’t feel notes. We can hear them and maybe guess them but that’s about it. Somebody with a perfect pitch can just name a note when he hears it because he feels it. It’s the same in the case of colors: People with normal vision feel colors and colorblind people can only guess them.

Related articles:
Perfect Pitch and Color Blindness
A Colorblind Decides on Colors
Supporting a Colorblind Husband

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Was Katrina Colorblind?

Richard Valenty a writer of the Colorado Daily News raises in a recent news story the question:

“Might post-Katrina rescue efforts have been better if the citizens of New Orleans were predominantly white or of a higher socioeconomic class?”

Even as somebody not directly involved, living in another part of the world, this makes me think and I hope it is not true.

This kind of color blindness is different to a color vision deficiency. But both share some similaraties which have to be reconsidered.

  • Both can and often are inherited from parents to their children. White or black, higher or lower class is often a mental attitude passed on from parents to their children. It is not present all of a sudden, it grows slowly and steadily.
  • Both can see colors but have problems to classify them correctly. It is not about not being able to see the colors but about categorizing, sorting and classifying.
  • Both are not talked about in public. People are hiding behind flowery phrases, don’t want to admit it and play it down.

I hope everybody can learn from Katrina and hopefully make it better if something like this ever happens again. It doesn’t only happen in this enormity. No. Sadly color blindness can be observed everyday on the roads and at work. Everybody has to work on it in the small to change it slowly but steadily in the large.

Direct link to the news story: Was Katrina Colorblind

Coloring Easter Eggs

Coloring Easter Eggs
Coloring Easter Eggs

Today is Good Friday and everybody enjoys Easter vacation. Eggs are getting colored, hidden, searched for and found – most of the time.

I was just wondering what some fellow bloggers say about Coloring Easter Eggs. As there are so many possibilities to do it and so many colors to choose from it would be interesting to learn some more about it. Here you go.

Very very nice. Our easter eggs are already colored and some of them already filled my stomach. Yummie.

What do you think about: How to color your Easter eggs, that your colorblind son (or husband) will never find them? Or what is your favourite color, coloring and especially hide technique?

Related articles:
Supporting a Colorblind Husband
Green versus Orange

5 Misbeliefs about Color Blindness

Even though there are many people, specially men, suffering from some kind of color blindness, there are many misbeliefs around and some of them deeply settled inside the brains. Let us do some cleaning up and get those straight.

I have chosen five common misbeliefs about color blindness and try to shape them towards meaningful knowledge.

Colorblind people…

  1. see only grayscale and can’t see any colors at all. As the wordings color blindness and colorblind have a liberal usage, this is not true. Most of the people called colorblind suffer from red-green color blindness and some of blue-yellow color blindness. Only very few are affected by achromatopsia and just some of those are completely colorblind. But if so there is a smooth transition to blindness and there is no hard line between really being colorblind, highly sensitiveness on bright light and blindness. And the conclusion is, colorblind people can see colors but just can’t distinguish all of them.
  2. are a risk on road traffic because they can’t distinguish between the red and the green traffic light. No, they can distinguish due to the two following facts. First of all the red light is much much darker than the green light. Maybe colorblind people have to learn the color names on the traffic lights but not the meanings of them. And secondly they are always ordered the same way. Red on the leftside or on top and green on the rightside or at the bottom. Or is it the other way around?
  3. inherit color blindness from their fathers. Well, my father is colorblind too but I inherited it from my mother. The most common red-green color blindness is a sex-linked trait. Therefore it is encoded on the X-chromosome which is passed on from a mother to her son and not the father. In the article The Biology behind Red-Green Color Blindness I go a bit futher into detail on this topic.
  4. have all the same color vision. As contradiction I list the different varieties of color blindness: Protanomaly, Protanopia, Deuteranomaly and Deuteranopia are different sorts of red-green color blindness. Tritanomaly and Tritanopia are more commonly referred to as blue-yellow color blindness. To round up we have rod monochromacy and Achromatopsia. And to top this list they can be more or less pronounced and appear even in different mixtures.
  5. are dumb. Well I have just written this article and I hope this tells you opposite. Of course we can’t name all the colors. But it’s just names and it doesn’t affect the rest of the brain mass – hopefully.

I hope these explanations can wipe out the misbliefs and broaden the knowledge about color blindness.

Further readings:
Wikipedia on Color Blindness
Wikipedia on Achromatopsia

Related articles:
The Biology behind Red-Green Color Blindness
Colorblind People are Wise Persons
What the Doctor says

A Colorblind Decides on Colors

I am redesigning my blog. This of course involves some decisions about colors. Ohhh, how I hate it. I mean, in my eyes the chosen colors look great, fit together and don’t jump into your eyes and disturb the overall impression of the page. But if I show my color ideas to somebody not colorblind they often put a smile on their face.

This is maybe hard to imagine how it feels for somebody not struggling with color blindness. But for me it is not funny at all. I try to give my best, use tools who support your decisions of colors and try to stick just to a handful of colors. Still, there has to be always somebody around who judges my creations so I can make the adjustments for the ones without color vision deficiency.

There are only tools around which show you how a page or a picture look like if you are colorblind. But none of them works the other way around. How would it be great to have a tool which tells you its feelings when parsing your newly designed page. And only if the tools mood says “I’m feeling great” you would be sure that your chosen colors fit the eyes of the not colorblind population of our world.

Related articles:
Choosing the Right Colors

Colorblind People are Wise Persons

Albert Schweitzer (January 14th 1875 – September 4th 1965) was a theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere. The pessimist sees only the red light. But the truly wise person is colorblind.

This quote was coined by Albert Schweitzer. I don’t want to start a philosophic discussion here but would like to have a closer look at the last sentence But the truly wise person is colorblind from a logical point of view. In short this means that all colorblind people are wise. Or doesn’t it? From my point of view where color blindness sits in my neck every second this would be very charming.

Let’s get mathematics out of the bag. The quote says out of being a truly wise person follows that this person is colorblind. Can we also saddle the horse from the back and say if somebody is colorblind he therefore must be a wise person? Unfortunately not. This becomes clear if we look at a little example:

If it rains the street is wet. Can we follow that if the street is wet that it has to rain? No, we can’t. Because there could also be somebody washing his car out on the street or a broken water pipeline fludding the street. But we can look at this situation even from a different angle: If the street is not wet there is no way that it is raining. This helps as a lot to understand the above quote a bit more in detail.

If you are colorblind it doesn’t follow after Albert Schweitzer that you are a wise person. But only if you are colorblind you have the possibility to be a wise person and therefore only colorblind people can be wise persons. I am happy to be one of them as I just showed you :-)

Further reading:
Wikipedia – necessary and sufficient conditions in logic
Albert Schweitzer

Related articles:
Mars in the Eyes of Colorblind Astronomer Schiaparellli

Perfect Pitch And Color Blindness

Gareth writes about the Perfect Pitch and tells a very nice analogy between a perfect pitch and color blindness:

There is a very good analogy to perfect pitch – that it is like seeing in colour instead of being colourblind – but it is still just an analogy. When you look at a picture and see a colour such as pink, can you tell me how you know it is pink and not, say, bright orange? No, you can’t. You just know. Similarly, I hear G and I hear that it has all the qualities of G-ness. That’s all. It doesn’t cause bright purple spots to float around that tell me it is a G.

I like this analogy very much. But head over and read the whole article at Dusk Puppy.

Further Reading:
Gareths article about Perfect Pitch
Wikipedia: Perfect Pitch