There are more than 350 million colourblind people in the world.
That’s more than the entire population of the United States!
That is a lot of people who don’t see your slides the way you think they do. It’s likely that someone you work with is dealing with this too.
It’s hard to imagine what effect colourblindness has if you don’t suffer from colour vision deficiencies. Thankfully, there is an online tool to help you visualise and understand what it’s like: Coblis the Color Blindness Simulator
The first time I saw this demo 👆 it really hit home. As you can see from the gif above, you can simulate what it is like to live with red, green, blue or complete colourblindness. I highly recommend you follow the link above and try it out yourself.
I too am guilty of creating slides and using colour combos without a second thought for its appropriateness for accessibility.
Among the different types of colourblindness, it’s estimated that about 99% of people suffer from red-green colourblindness. I can’t tell you how many slides I did where the colours Red, Amber or Green were used to show the status of tasks and milestones on projects. It’s common practice to show “Good” in shades of green and “Bad” in red. In a world of high-stakes decision-making, I wonder how many people sit through meetings not being able to tell the difference and potentially lose the meaning 🙈
Well, now that we’ve become more aware of this, what can we do about it?
5 colour-related tips for designing slides:
- Keep your designs simple: Simple slide templates are always safer. The built-in PowerPoint templates are generally safe to use and have taken Accessibility into consideration
- Use colours that contrast significantly from each other: Yes, your varying shades of blue might look cool to you, but might all look grey to an audience member with colourblindness. If part of the message relies on colour to add emphasis, make sure that there is sufficient contrast between the colours to support your point
- Ensure that colour is not the only means of conveying information: A good example of this is the case of RAG status indicators (aka Red/Amber/Green or traffic light system). Instead of just using the colour red, amber or green in your status indicator, include the letters “R”, “A” or “G” and even ✅ and ❎ so that you can both read and see the status
- Make use of the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint: You can find the Accessibility Checker under the Review tab on the PowerPoint ribbon menu. It’s a great way to get a view of where you can make changes to your slides based on accessibility rules. The Accessibility Menu is also very useful for inspecting your slides with and without colour. It’s a great way to get a sense of whether you are using colours that contrast enough (see below for a quick demo on the Accessibility Menu)
- Finally, Coblis allows you to upload images for analysis by the tool: This is a great way to test screenshots of your slides for effectiveness
Good design is closely linked with responsibility for communicating with empathy. To take our work to the next level we need to really understand the audience by putting ourselves in their shoes.
Starting your designs with accessibility in mind is a whole lot easier than going back and redoing it all 👎
I hope this has added another tool to your toolbox and helps you share your hard work in the most effective way.
Over the next few weeks, we will be focussing on the topic of Accessibility and how to share your work more effectively.
If you have any questions about the topic please feel free to reach out by replying to this email 😊
Have a fantastic week!
✌️ + ppt
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