Reliance On Colour

One of my major bug bears is the reliance on colour to communicate meaning. As a tester it’s super easy to question any product or communication that relies on colour. Just ask whether meaning will be lost if viewed without colour.

If you have a graph for example where each line is representing a finding or value, and they are each different colours then print the graph in greyscale and see if you can still make sense of the data. Is the key good enough, are the lines slightly different shapes (dot, dashes etc) or do you lose all functional understanding?

Relying on colour to communicate meaning is often a very lazy approach to designing products and it’s something we, as testers, should be acutely aware of and test for.

It’s never right or wrong to use colour to communicate meaning but we should always ask the question; “Will we ever have a circumstance where someone will not see the colour as we have defined it and hence lose the meaning?” Or some other better phrased question.

Here’s a good tool for putting yourself in the shoes of someone with varying magnitudes of colour blindness – http://colororacle.org/

My site under “Normal Vision”

The Social Tester Site - Normal Vision
The Social Tester Site – Normal Vision

 

My site under “Deuteranopia” vision – it’s a green deficiency and affects about 5% of males

The Social Tester Site - Deuteranopia Vision
The Social Tester Site – Deuteranopia Vision

 

My site under “Protanopia” vision – this is quite rare.

The Social Tester Site - Protanopia Vision
The Social Tester Site – Protanopia Vision

 

My site under “Tritanopia” vision – this is very rare.

The Social Tester Site - Tritanopia Vision
The Social Tester Site – Tritanopia Vision

 

My web site doesn’t rely on any colour to conduct meaning but you could quite easily see how some websites, graphics and explanations could clearly lose their value when viewed by someone with colour blindness.

http://colororacle.org/

 

 

3 Replies to “Reliance On Colour”

    1. Thanks for the comment David.

      I tend to have an idea about what I want to test and then web search for tools to help me test it.

  1. So. we need to check : (I hope, this doesnt come under testing) – we check , if i am the color blinded person using the website – can i able to read the font/design ?

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