May 20th, 2014

Is your website colorblind friendly?

Color is a powerful design tool.

It can be used for branding your business, to evoke a mood or feeling, and to emphasize aspects of your website. Color is also the first thing most people notice, according to a study on color and branding by colormatters.com, making it valuable for creating brand recognition. But to anyone suffering from a color deficiency (often referred to as colorblindness), your website could be more difficult to access than you think.

For people suffering from a color deficiency – which is roughly 8 percent of all men and 0.5 percent of women, according to color-blindness.com – your colorful website could be an absolute chore to navigate. Caused by a non-functioning cone in the eye, color deficiencies make it difficult to distinguish between particular colors. While there are many types of color deficiencies, the most common is red-green color-blindness, in which red and green appear as the same color. For the benefit of our colorblind Web surfers, it’s a good idea to test your site to ensure usability remains intact when the colors are not viewed as originally intended.

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your website is colorblind friendly:

Run it through a simulator.

You can test your site with a color-blindness simulator, such as Colbindor. Simulators can approximates how images or webpages will look with various common forms of color deficiencies. It is a great way to test your site to see if any important information, links, etc., are difficult to see for any colorblind visitors. While you may not be able to strictly follow a color scheme that is colorblind friendly across your entire website, ensuring that important information is accessible to colorblind visitors can help keep your website user friendly.

Check the grey scale.

Test your Web pages in grey scale format by simply switching your settings. This will allow you to double check that your site doesn’t lose its usability when there is no-longer color.

Don’t just rely on color.

Don’t rely on color alone to convey messages to your website visitors. To ensure your site is colorblind friendly, combine color with other design techniques. Typography, grids, use of white space and shapes can help you increase usability and create a visual appealing website for visitors, no matter how the colors are viewed.

For more information on colorblindness and optimizing your website for color deficiency, check out wearecolorblind.com and color-blindness.com.

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