color blindness and computers

color blindness and computers

Post by Soren LaFor » Fri, 09 Aug 1991 15:43:03



Perhaps this is too obvious, and that is why no one has mentioned it here,
but...

It seem to me that the simple solution to this problem is to provide a
color map.  

A utility could be developed that displays a palette of the available
colors, remaps the colors to those that are preceptable by the individual.  
If it were done at the system level, it would be a one time fix.

I am afraid that I really have no idea of the complexity of this solution,
though, it seems that a TSR type utility (terminate, stay resident) would
not be that dificult.  This way, any program could be made more easilly
useable.

Perhaps the solution would have to be a hardware modification to the
visual driver.  Again, this would provide a one time fix for all software.

On to another topic:

Is color blindness REALLY that bad a term?  I'm afraid that the opinions I
am interested in are of those who are "spectrally impaired."  Not their
friends or relatives.

I'm deaf in one ear.  I'm not acoustically impaired, I'm deaf.  All the
excruciatingly politically correct terms won't change that.  As near as I
can tell, all the EPC terms are coined by the unimpaired.

I appologize for taking up the bandwidth to say this, but the recent
discussion of an EPC term for color blindness is starting to remind me
of the B-Ship (hitchhikers guide) folks trying to invent the wheel...

"If you're so smart, what COLOR should it be?"


p.s.

ok, maybe that was the wrong b-ship anecdote, considering the nature of
this discussion.  ;-)

"That's exactly the kind of question we need to be asking: should fire be
nasally insertable?"

-s.

 
 
 

color blindness and computers

Post by Stan She » Sun, 11 Aug 1991 03:56:43



>Perhaps this is too obvious, and that is why no one has mentioned it here,
>but...

>It seem to me that the simple solution to this problem is to provide a
>color map.  

>A utility could be developed that displays a palette of the available
>colors, remaps the colors to those that are preceptable by the individual.  
>If it were done at the system level, it would be a one time fix.

You would run into problems if the nature of the application assigned
meaning to colors, possibly in a way that doesn't lend itself to alterations.

For instance, my game xconq allows game designers to pick colors for each
type of terrain that they've specified, and (in the unreleased version)
each player can specify 1-3 "national colors".  This is really hairy to
deal with, because this is all late-bound and dynamic.  What if someone
defines a favorite flag that is a red star on a green background, and
somebody else makes a pink star on a forest green background?  A third
person's personal color mapping runs the risk of making them map to the
same colors.

On the other hand, somebody else observed that colorblindness runs along
known axes of some color spaces, so maybe a carefully designed mapping
that is strictly 1-1 for all colors would do the trick.  So reds tend to
brighten and maybe be concentrated at one end of the scale, while greens
tend to darken, but all the colors are still distinct.  Presumably the
colorblind user will be able to adjust to the somewhat smaller differences
between colors that will occur in the compressed parts of the color space.

This seems obvious actually; has anybody experimented with this idea?
I don't think anybody at Apple has...

                                                Stan Shebs
                                                Apple ATG System Software


 
 
 

color blindness and computers

Post by Scott McGreg » Sun, 11 Aug 1991 04:29:55




> It seem to me that the simple solution to this problem is to provide a
> color map.  
> A utility could be developed that displays a palette of the available
> colors, remaps the colors to those that are preceptable by the individual.  
> If it were done at the system level, it would be a one time fix.

As someone with this genetic defect, and who has also been a graphic
designer for a living, I think you are right and also wrong.  Yes, a
color remapper would be a simple solution.  But the problem is not the
remapping technology, it is the map itself.  You have to know how the
applications designer is intending to use color.  Are they using a
linear path across the hue spectrum to indicate a continuum of values.
If so, then if you remap to a linear path across a grayscale, it should
be just as usable.  But if the designer is using societal conventions
(yellow warning signs, red stop signs, green go lights,
etc.) then you've just screwed things up worse.  So you might end up
with a different map for every application.  And there might be some
applications where you need a different map for every screen change!
Most color blind people don't want to spend their time building color
maps all the time or even switching between already made ones.
Certainly I don't and I am much less of a computer phobe than the
typical appliction user.  

Quote:> Is color blindness REALLY that bad a term?  I'm afraid that the opinions I
> am interested in are of those who are "spectrally impaired."  Not their
> friends or relatives.
> I'm deaf in one ear.  I'm not acoustically impaired, I'm deaf.  All the
> excruciatingly politically correct terms won't change that.  As near as I
> can tell, all the EPC terms are coined by the unimpaired.

As it turns out, I am also deaf in one ear.  Largely I don't care if this
is called deaf or acoustically impaired. Similarly for being called
color blind.  However, there are times when greater precision is helpful.
If I say I am deaf, many people try to avoid giving me information
orally and try to put it in writing.  The term deaf implies to them the
absence of
hearing--whereas in my case it is merely anomolous--I might hear some things
(those close to my good ear) and not others (those close to my deaf
ear). So instead having everyone write things down for me, I adjust
where I sit so that I can hear what I want to hear and ignore what I
don't want to hear (its great when trying to sleep in a noisy
environment!).  Also, I can't identify the location of a sound as well
as other people, so I am more cautious than most people when I hear a
siren while driving.  But other than that I basically get along quite
well in a stereo hearing world by adjusting myself and not people and
things around me.

Similarly, for color blindness--hue intensity anomoly would set
expectations for others better.  I can see colors, I just see them
differently and I have enough ability to work around my anomoly that it
isn't a big problem. At least it wasn't so big that it prevented me from
founding, building up and selling a successful graphic design business.
So call me color blind if you like; I don't care; but you don't need to
get too helpful by overinterpretting the word "blind" to mean total
absence of hue discrimination.

Scott McGregor
Atherton Technology