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About 4% of the population has some form of color blindness. One in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are color blind and face challenges with a lot of online products like websites, apps, games, and webshops in their daily life.

Thankfully, designing for the colorblind doesn’t have to be difficult. And best of all, designing with the colorblind in mind will also improve your design for everyone.

How does color blindness work?

To see, we need light to hit the retina at the back of our eyes. The retina is made up of photoreceptors: rods and cones. The rods are sensitive to light while the cones pick up color.

Each of the cones is carrying one out of three different photopigments — red, green, and blue — and reacts differently to colored light. …

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Shopping for clothing is one of the more problematic experiences for the colorblind. It brings together some of the most fundamental problems of being color blind.

Naming color comes very natural to most people and doesn’t require a lot of though or effort. You take a look and you know what color it is. Sure, a shade of a color can sometimes require a small moment of contemplation. But you can tell: it’s definitely blue, not a pure blue but rather dark, almost black, navy blue you’d recon.

The colorblind however, are not that good at naming color. Colors tend to lie closer to each other because of their narrowed color spectrum. That’s an issue, because anyone shopping for clothing — online or in a store — has to decide on two very basic things. First: what color is this item? …

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A long time ago I was over for dinner at my grandparents. I was helping my grandfather to set the table and he told me to get the green plates from the cupboard. I grabbed them and put them on the table. My grandmother overheard this from the other room and came in — quite confused — to ask were on earth I got the green plates from. Apparently the green plates were blue.

My grandfather had had this set of plates for many years but never knew or realized they were blue. This might sound weird. …


Tom van Beveren

Founder of We are Colorblind

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