Web Design Guidelines For Color Blind Audience



According to Colour Blind Awareness, 4.5% of the population is color-blind. This jumps to 8% if the majority of your audience is male.

Because the majority of designers are not color-blind, it can be simple to forget about planning for them. 


This article covers some helpful tips to help designers solve a plethora of dilemmas color-blind people experience when using websites – something which can often benefit people with normal vision too.


While there are many distinct shades of color blindness, they all boil down to the inability to distinguish between some colors, mixing up colors, or not seeing colors. The environments that people use websites in could make this issue on the web worse. 


This includes, among other things, using low-quality monitors, watching television while sitting distant from the screen, and using small mobile devices with glaring screens. Since it is necessary to serve the needs of this diverse group, whose members may encounter varying degrees of difficulty using your website if it is not created properly, accessibility in web design is already making waves. 



Types Of Color Blindness


1. Protanopia and (red deficiencies)


According to webAIM, in the eyes of individuals suffering from Protanopia, the cones or the color receptors are not sensitive to long wavelengths (the reds). To these people, reds seem darker than the actual hues and appear more beige-like. Red and green hues are frequently confused. 


2. Deuteranopia and deuteranomaly (green deficiencies)


According to Colormax, cones in the eyes of people with Deuteranopia are insensitive to greens and the sufferers mostly perceive hues of blue and yellow. Reds do not appear as dark in this ailment, even though the disorder is more or less identical to Protanopia. 


3.Tritanopia (blue deficiencies)


The absence of blue cones in the sufferers' eyes is a defining feature of tritanopia. In general, greens and blues can be confused in this situation, while yellows can either become thoroughly invisible or appear as lighter reds. 



Approaches For Designing A Better UX For Color Blind Users


1.Color combinations to avoid


Some color combinations are particularly difficult for those who are color-blind, so avoid using them in your designs. The plenty of insights for designing with the color blind in mind and has deemed several color combinations unsuitable for these individuals, including Green & Black, Green & Grey, Blue & Grey, Light Green & Yellow, Green & Blue, Blue & Purple, Green & Brown, and Green & Red.


2. Make it monochrome


Using numerous shades of a single hue instead of using multiple colors in your design is one of the most surefire ways to avoid problems caused by color blindness. It might be challenging to distinguish between colors that are too similar in hue or temperature. 


No one is requesting that you design a monochromatic website, but seeing your website in greyscale mode can help you picture how it would look to a color-blind user. To make the distinctions visible to color-blind people, Google Maps uses a variety of colors in addition to green for no traffic and red for busy. 


3. Use high contrast


Color blind people can perceive differences in brightness, saturation, and hue, as well as contrast. Web designers can leverage this to their advantage since a plethora of people afflicted with this condition fare better with bright colors than dim ones which tend to blur into one another. 


4. Use thicker lines


People with a mild case of color blindness are often able to see color if there’s ample “mass” of it. Therefore, a less than sufficient thin line of color won’t show up as the right color for them. Use texture instead; it's better and more sensible. 


Texture can be utilized in addition to color, particularly in infographics and maps, to distinguish between a wide variety of items. For instance, if we run the image above on the via check simulator, a Protanope or a Deuteranope would easily interpret it. 


5. Use both colors and symbols


WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0, and Section 508 all stress the fact that color shouldn't be the sole medium to convey information. According to Section 508, Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup."


Color shouldn't be used to convey meaning; for example, color blindness may make it difficult for someone to understand frequent red error warnings like "lookout," "warning," and "bad." As a good measure, designers should add symbolic elements in addition to color-coded text to get the point across to a diverse audience and capture their attention. Great illustrations of this strategy are the error messages that are displayed next to Facebook's form fields. 


To further aid these readers in understanding the material, descriptive text may be added to the color-coded text. The gap is one such brand that solves the problem of using color to portray myriad options available in a product by adding a text label beside each color. 


It's simple to utilize a color filter with labels, especially if you have protanopia. This benefits people with normal eyesight as well, as some colors, like navy blue and black, are difficult to distinguish on a screen. The guesswork involved in differentiating similar-looking hues is eliminated by adding text labels. 


Similar to this, color alone is frequently used to present primary buttons. Instead, think about using icons, borders, contrast, boldness, positioning, and size to aid detection while staying within the bounds of your brand rules. 


Weaning off color and introducing some other visual shift between the interactive elements' various states is another method of identifying them. For instance, while we are accustomed to buttons that change color on hover, buttons with borders fare better, such as above. Changing the appearance of buttons makes them stand out and shows users which elements are interactive. 


6. Modifying brightness, saturation, hue


Similar to altering the contrast, tweaking the brightness, saturation, and hue of colors allows designers to show definition and help end-users differentiate between various elements without using a plethora of different colors. Changing the hue, brightness, or saturation of a single color—or even a small group of colors—can show a distinct difference between several samples of the same color. 


Using this method, designers can introduce color without sacrificing beauty, as if adding a new color to the mix each time.

The color-blind visitors then interpret each color sample as a uniquely shaped element of the design. For instance, we started with the same color below but turning up the hue a notch produced the color on the right.


7. Easy to spot links


Your color-blind audience should be able to easily find links on your website. Thus, relying just on color is not the best course of action. 

These users' only option is to wait for the cursor to convert to a pointer by hovering their mouse over each letter.


On a mobile device, this is much more challenging because users have to tap on the text to request a page. To make navigation easier, links should be underlined or, even better, include icons. 


8. Problematic colors shouldn’t be used side-by-side


Many of the original problematic colors are automatically changed by different colors, depending on the degree of color blindness.

In other words, greens and reds turn brownish for Protanopes or Deuteranopes, with greens slightly paler than reds. For Tritanopes, blues appear lighter and yellows appear pinkish.


Now imagine a scenario where you have picked exactly these colors for your design’s color theme, namely blue, pink, yellow or brown, green, or red, and then placing such colors side by side would inadvertently create a "blending effect", with greens or reds melting into shades of grey or brown, and the greys and browns retaining their original colors.


Even worse, if such colors are combined by themselves as the color of the background and superimposing text, or in graphs to convey information, it would be the height of reckless design decisions. The best course of action when designing for a color-blind audience is to avoid utilizing such problematic colors. 




Designing for the colorblind is not often a bed of roses for designers who aren't colorblind themselves, and thus cannot comprehend the struggles of their less fortunate end-users. Designing with color blindness in mind is necessary nowadays, though, as a large number of your end customers deal with this problem daily. Color blindness doesn't just affect a small number of people.


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