The World as I See It.

A laptop showing a blank screen, notepads, and coffee mug.

By my dad.

Most people see me as a normal guy; there are many things that other people would not take a second look at. What I surprise people with, however, is my perception of colours.

I have Deuteranopia, commonly known as being Colour Blind. I can see colours, but I may not be able to distinguish between hues and shades. There are many different forms, and for me it’s red and green that get confused. It is more amusing than dangerous. I have never run a red light but have managed to get money returned from a car park ticket machine. The button options were “Press Green for Ticket” and “Press Red for Coin Return” (I remember this happening; my mum had to get out of the car to find out what was taking so long).

Colours are used in many ways within daily business. Slides used in presentations can be beautifully designed with colours. Displays of information on the Computer Screen can use colours to highlight things. Some of the time put into the design of these may fail at the last hurdle – when I can’t see exactly what what it is intended to show.

So why mention it? The main point is that I am not alone. Approximately 1 in 12 Men (8%) and 1 in 200 Women (0.5%) are affected by some form of colour blindness. I have written this article after a discussion with another consultant. One of their customers was colour blind and found that some data displayed on a screen was difficult to interpret. I was asked about what could be done to help.

For me, I have found that the Windows Ease of Access tool has helped. There is colour filter setting that adjusts screen colours to compensate.

For others, there is an extension available to Google Chrome that will allow you display a web page as it might be viewed by someone who is colour blind (search colorblinding).

If you are creating a presentation slide or building an interface that needs colour, there may be something that could be added to help. For example, the Car Park ticket machine I mentioned earlier could have also had a tick on the Green button and a cross on the red button.

For more information about colour blindness, the website is very helpful.

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