Saturday, March 10, 2007

Colorblindness - A Usability Guide for Commercial Applications, Part 1

Practical tips for designing with color on websites ...

"Ten percent of Caucasian American men but less than one percent of women are estimated to have some form of colorblindness. Colorblind people represent a significant but often neglected talent pool and consumer segment. Identifying opportunities to make products usable by as many people as possible, without degrading overall quality or performance, is a quality assurance function that is not always well understood or practiced.

Here is a guide for increasing the usability of products and the communication of information. It contains need-to-know information for anyone engaged in software and hardware product design, quality assurance or business communication. We begin with a few simple tips.

Two principal tips for usability are to avoid using color alone as a sole distinguishing element or functional indicator, and to emphasize highly contrasting brightness, hues and saturations in adjacent colors. In emphasizing a hyperlink, for example, not only can a dark blue font be used against a white background, but the hyperlink can be underlined to indicate its function.

Avoid using colors together that are distinguishable solely by the amount of red or green in them.

In presenting text, colored letters work best when they are in bold fonts and have high-contrast backgrounds. The easiest text to read is in strong black fonts on white backgrounds. Dark fonts and busy or dark backgrounds do not work well together, nor do light fonts on light backgrounds. Avoid yellow or light green letters on white backgrounds.

Information should never be distinguished by color only, but should be combined with bolder fonts, underlining, dashes, italics, or other typographical features. This is particularly important when information is being presented in graphs and maps."    (Continued via TechNewsWorld)    [Usability Resources]

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