Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Jan 26 – color matters

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-01-26

I just discovered that January 26 has a significant event, and that color is the issue, and will be remembered all around the world.

OK, not really that significant: Facebook End Colorblind Confusion (For a Day…) – "please" attend by wearing an uncolored shirt – white, grey or black.

Yep…. we aren’t colorblind, we are color confused, we’ll mix them up, give them the wrong name, have trouble if they are similar saturations… (resources to test and simulate what we see over the fold)

So as an example of the 1-in-20 males with characteristics essential to survival of the human race a hundred thousand years ago, the guy in the hunting party who wasn’t fooled by mainstream camouflage, the one who said "throw your spears and rocks over there" at something we wanted to eat, or wanted to eat us, I offer a few giggles, hopefully for all of us, although for different reasons.

Now, I’m told I might need to be careful with one of the following images – but I cannot tell which for sure.

Give Love To The Colorblind 1

Give Love To The Colorblind 2

More images, and some references to tests and simulations so you normal folk can see what we see over the fold.

Colorblind Advantage

Colorblind Traffic Signal

Colorblind Traffic Signal

But if you design a website with color-coded buttons – if your graphs use lines with reds and greens of similar saturations (especially thin lines) – I hope you burn in hell.

Notes/See Also:


6 Responses to “Jan 26 – color matters”

  1. Well I shall never make a graph with thin red and green lines near to each other again! Not that I have before, anyway. Still, I have to confess that it’s not something I’ve thought about as a problem for presentations before.

  2. Heh, well these were my results:

    Estimate of color vision deficiency’s probability:3%

    normal answers: 30/31

    Your answer is randomly: 0/24

    no similar proposal: 0/7

    green color deficit (deutéranopia): 0/19

    green color deficit (deutéranomaly) simulation wickline: 0/7

    red color deficit (protanopia): 0/15

    red color deficit (protanomaly) simulation wickline: 0/7

    blue color deficit (tritanopia): 0/15

    blue color deficit (tritanomaly) simulation wickline: 1/7

    deuteranopia indicator:0%

    deuteranomaly indicator: 0%

    protanopia indicator: 0%

    protanomaly indicator: 0%

    tritanopia indicator: 0%

    tritanomaly indicator: 14%

  3. Dave Bath said

    LE@1: Imagine your presentations printed in black and white. Different thicknesses, long/short dashes, triangles and v circles at intervals are good. OK, still a problem with errorbars, if you use them, on close lines, but it’s an improvement.

    It’s not so much close together, as the saturation, and how much of other colors are there: small tinges of aqua or yellow in the green, or purple in the red, can help.

    It’s also worth thinking about the minimal costs of those traffic lights different shapes for new sets, or put in when old sets need replacement. Everyone would be safer, with many males undiagnosed, and green lights which can bleed into white at night, being effectively invisible, the fact an intersection is there unrecognized until it turns yellow and the brakes have to be slammed on.

    It’s one of the few “disabilities” that disadvantage everyone, not just the affected persons… Unless as mentioned, you are a tribe reliant on hunting parties, when everyone is advantaged! (so, good in males males – and a Big Bad in females staying near home, gathering berries and using unripe toxic ones in the cooking!)

    It’s also one of the few disabilities that everyone can have harmless giggles over – never known a color confused person who was sensitive to the issue other than getting a bit tired of the same old jokes.

    It’s also one of the few disabilities where everyone else can get a reasonably good idea of what affected people go through – they can turn their TV’s green component down enough to lead to confusion, although it’s not exact simulation.

    But 3D movies are a bitch! Still, money to be saved, as long as we can always get 2D verions.

  4. Ah, in the rare event I do a graph, I tend to do dashes or different thicknesses – just for my own benefit. I hadn’t thought of the 3D TV aspect either. I worked with a guy who was totally colourblind (just saw in greys, I guess?). He came up to me one day and whispered, “Does this tie and shirt go together?” “Yes, it’s nice,” I said with a question in my voice. “Oh I’m totally colourblind,” he confessed. I would never have known – he always looked like he matched. I guess he knew what kind of shades went with other shades?

  5. Dave Bath said

    LE@4: Thanks for caring. Passing on knowledge of that HowTo to other lecturers would be nice, especially the more technical hints for biologists and chemists (like Mr Eagle) who use lots of colors. (Oral exams with stained tissues under a microscope were horrible – the only way to make it nice would be to use a microscope with a pointer in it with the examiner on the same side of the table as yourself.)

  6. […] be explosiveroger on Release of Egyptian rendition records would be explosiveDave Bath on Jan 26 – color mattersLegal Eagle on Jan 26 – color mattersDave Bath on Jan 26 – […]

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