C&B Notes

Brighter Days for the Colorblind

Colorblindness affects an estimated 32 million Americans, with a heavy skew towards men.  New research and tools, such as smartphone apps that use a phone’s camera to adjust colors to those visible by the user, offer help and hope.

Many colorblind people say they have no problem recognizing pure, strong colors.  It is the blended and muted colors in between that are often difficult to tell apart.  The DanKam, an augmented-reality app for iPhone and Android, works on the same principle. Users look through the phone’s camera and the program converts all the reds and greens in view into pure, basic versions that are easier for colorblind people to see.  “It is like having magic eyes,” says Andy Baio, a writer and programmer in Portland, Ore., who is red-green colorblind.  “It doesn’t make me see red or green the way you see them, but it makes it blazingly obvious the difference between them…”

Some tools, like Colorblind Vision, help businesses and marketers see what their materials look like to colorblind people by simulating various color-vision deficiencies…

Some popular videogames, such as PopCap’s Peggle and Zuma Blitz, now let gamers switch to colorblind modes, where color codes turn into shapes…