Color blindness affects 4.5% of the population, approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women (0.5%). Worldwide, there are approximately 300 million people with color blindness, almost the same number of people as the entire population of the USA.
Most people with the conditions that cause color blindness are able to see images clearly but are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue light. There are different types of color blindness which result in different levels of color perception, as well as extremely rare cases where people are unable to see any color at all.
The different anomalous conditions are:
Deuteranomaly which is a reduced sensitivity to green light and is the most common form of color blindness.
Protanomaly, which is a reduced sensitivity to red light.
Tritanomaly which is a reduced sensitivity to blue light.
The color palette being used on our existing thematic maps was designed to be accessible for the majority, including those with some degree of vision deficiency. However, we realized it was not adjustable for everyone. Those with specific color vision deficiencies (also known as color blindness) were not able to visualize and analyze data properly on GIS data web tools.
Looking at the Color Blind Vision image, one can experience how colors 2-3, 4-5-6, and 6-7 are difficult for some website visitors to distinguish clearly. They can be interpreted as the same hue in the eyes of a person with color blindness.
We put together a selection of colors and shades that can satisfy any of the visual deficiency conditions listed above. On the central image below you can see the new color blind friendly palette; use the gallery to experiment how the different types of deficiency get to perceive the color scheme.
On top of that, to avoid any further confusion and support those with monochromatic vision, we have also added customized design patterns that complement the colors. With the combination of both, we are the only economic development GIS solutions provider that offers color blind friendly palettes while also being web accessible compliant.
To understand how someone with color blindness will now see our thematic maps, we have created a simulation comparison below with the new Patterns mode activated. On the left side of the image, you see what a person with full color vision experiences and on the right, what a person with color deficiency can see. Move the slide back and forth to experience the differences. Click on the numbers to experiment with the 3 types of color blindness (Deuteranopia, Protanopia, Tritanopia), as well as monochromatic vision.
If you have full color vision, nothing will change for you and you can still use the standard thematic heat map color scheme. But, if you have some type of color blindness, switch on Patterns mode while applying heat maps and visualize the data without confusion. The toggle switch is located on the bottom right corner of the legend.
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