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Subject: Designing with the colourblind in mind rss

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Barry Smith
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Part of the game I'm designing will require the identification of the colour on otherwise identical cards.

My intention would be to use red, green, blue, and yellow but with red/green and blue/yellow being the most common types of colourblindness this seems like it would make it difficult for those who suffered.

Now, the colours themselves aren't strictly important; I could change the colours but that wouldn't necessarily help.

Now the cards that reference the colours can be spelled out clearly on them but the cards that are played would lose some of the aesthetic if I were to do the same.

Would a symbol be better (like clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades) or could I put a small box in the corner with the colour and then just the initial of the colour in it (R, G, B, Y)?

What considerations have you all had with your games for colourblind people? How did you deal with them?

What about other types of 'less able' gamers; what other considerations should I think of?
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Marcello Larcher
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there are many articles on design for colorblids

http://designshack.net/articles/accessibility/tips-for-desig...
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Matt Pierce
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Symbols all the way! why pass up an opportunity for interesting iconography?
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Morten K
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For non-colourblind people it is difficult to understand how colours that look as different as red and green can be indistinguishable but for us that are, it can be a very taxing experience to play a game where we have this problem. And you get tired of asking all the time. But if you really do want to use red and green (yellow-blue colourblindness is not common at all) there are options that are okay with us. You could choose to use pink and dark green for instance.

Remember that the colourblindness is not limited to the two colours though. Mixed colours are just as bad. Personally, I can usually distinguish between red and green with a bit of effort, but I'm totally lost when it comes to dark blue vs. dark purple (A Study in Emerald for instance) and I know many people have trouble with brown vs. green.
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Jason Kotzur-Yang
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I found this, which lets you test an image with different types of colour-blindness. http://www.color-blindness.com/coblis-color-blindness-simula...

I'm working on a design that involves custom dice, which you need to be able to tell the difference again, so this has been something in the back of my head. It won't be feasible to add extra info to each dice, but I'll be sure to make sure that any dice that could be confused (don't have unique symbols) are in different shades.

One of the suggestions I heard thrown out after the fact for Two Rooms and a Boom was they should have used patterns as well, so instead of just Red and Blue teams, they could've went with Red Stripes and Blue Dots, for examples.
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simon miles
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Guildhall accounts for colour blindness in the exact manner you mention, by placing symbols in the top left corner so that cards do not simply just rely on colour to be identified.
This in my opinion being colour blind, is the best example of a colour blind friendly card game out there on the market to date.
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Christian Gienger
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orcflesh wrote:
Guildhall accounts for colour blindness in the exact manner you mention, by placing symbols in the top left corner so that cards do not simply just rely on colour to be identified.
This in my opinion being colour blind, is the best example of a colour blind friendly card game out there on the market to date.


Transamerica does it as well.
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Val Teixeira
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Sarah Reed wrote a blog post focussing on this issue, as well as talking about vision disabilities. She certainly has some personal insight on the matter.
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Meaker VI
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sakket wrote:

Symbols all the way! why pass up an opportunity for interesting iconography?


Interestingly, those colors alone are 100% readable to my (severely colorblind) eye. I've found the problem seems to lie with saturation. Using RGB, 100% R and 100% G are usually readable to me. Some mixed version with low saturation becomes harder to read. Certain mixed colors get blended in with their parent color; Purple with blue or red (depending on which they have more of), Orange with yellow or red, Brown with red and green (really a problem, since red and green also blend together), teal with blue or green, etc.

Basically adding clear symbols consistently and you'll be good to go though; Ticket To Ride does it very well with symbols, colors, and artwork that designate any type of card. That and never use brown for anything. Ever.
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Kevin Nunn
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Absolutely!

Two members of my design group are colorblind. We have become highly aware of the difference such icons make.


sakket wrote:

Symbols all the way! why pass up an opportunity for interesting iconography?
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Morten K
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Good to see that others experience the same: less problems with more saturated colours
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Paolo G
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Meaker VI wrote:
sakket wrote:

Symbols all the way! why pass up an opportunity for interesting iconography?


Interestingly, those colors alone are 100% readable to my (severely colorblind) eye.

That's because the red and green are sufficiently far apart on the colour spectrum and the blue is chosen so that the four colours have sufficiently distinct luminance (i.e., brightness). These two facts together allow people with red-green reduced vision and blue-yellow reduced vision to see four different "colours" (that is, assuming that you can actually produce those exact colours in print: this is not always the case, even for commercial games, regardless of how much care the designer put in choosing the original colours).

Meaker VI wrote:
I've found the problem seems to lie with saturation. Using RGB, 100% R and 100% G are usually readable to me. Some mixed version with low saturation becomes harder to read. Certain mixed colors get blended in with their parent color; Purple with blue or red (depending on which they have more of), Orange with yellow or red, Brown with red and green (really a problem, since red and green also blend together), teal with blue or green, etc.

From the point of view of colour science, the issue is unfortunately complex; but yes, darker colours are often more problematic (they are in fact more problematic for people with normal vision as well). As you hint, context is also important: background and contrast can make a huge difference.

As for specific hues (i.e., "colours"), it's usually possible to create a colour-blind friendly palette of three or four "shades" of any hue by choosing shades with sufficiently different brightness, although some colour-blind people may end up seeing much less difference than people with fully-functional colour response. In any case, you are not obliged to stick to the common red-yellow-green-blue(-black) combination.

Meaker VI wrote:
Basically adding clear symbols consistently and you'll be good to go though; Ticket To Ride does it very well with symbols, colors, and artwork that designate any type of card. That and never use brown for anything. Ever.

In fact, using clearly distinct symbols and possibly distinct fill patterns remains the best way to make a game more accessible to every person (including, broadly-speaking, people with low vision acuity and cognitive impairment). Also, isolating icons / symbols from a noisy (i.e., "artistic") background, for instance through a sufficiently-thick white border, is often helpful.

In general, just sticking to the basic rules of graphic design works wonders; game designers should study at least some graphic design before creating components for their games. It is definitely possible to produce high-quality components while respecting design constraint that make life easier for the visually-impaired.

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