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September 6 is Color Blind Awareness Day, a fantastic opportunity to bring attention to this surprisingly common condition. But it also challenges us to commit more profoundly to overall equitability. Roughly 350 million people worldwide have Color Vision Deficiency (CVD), and the impacts aren’t always apparent. Educators, for instance, may assume a child with CVD has a learning disorder because many early learning exercises are color-based.
Of course, color blindness is just one of many disabilities that can hinder the learning experience and make daily activities like using the web difficult or impossible. And the demand and need for physical and digital accessibility will only continue to rise, underscoring the critical importance of raising overall disability awareness.
We start with the origin story for this important day, then delve into what people with color blindness experience and ways to simplify their lives.
The History of Color Blindness Awareness Day
Color Blind Awareness Day happens annually on September 6 to honor John Dalton’s birthday. Dalton, born September 6 September 1766, was the first to study color blindness academically. However, his interest in the subject was also personal, as he and his brother suffered from the condition. So it’s fitting that the man responsible for publicizing this condition inspired Color Blind Awareness Day.
Of course, awareness starts with understanding what your fellow humans are going through.
How Do People With Color blindness See the World?
People with Color Vision Deficiency have a narrowed color perception and don’t see the world in black and white. Colors are, therefore, less vibrant and harder to distinguish from each other. Let’s look at the different types of color blindness.
1. Green Color Blindness makes it difficult to perceive green-spectrum colors.
2. Red Color Blindness makes it difficult to perceive red-spectrum colors.
3. Blue Color Blindness is the rarest and most severe form of color blindness. People with blue-weak and blue-blind colorblindness struggle to perceive blue-spectrum colors.
4. Complete color blindness is uncommon and makes it impossible to see any colors.
This next section explains that contrast is integral in helping people with CVD perceive, comprehend, and engage with the digital world.
Contrasting Colors for Color Blindness
Color contrast is the ratio disparity between foreground and background website colors. A lack of contrast makes it challenging to see textual content on websites. That’s why proper contrast concerning text, links, and buttons can simplify UX for people with Color Vision Deficiency. In addition, higher contrast ratios help users manage brighter outdoor environments.
The safest approach to provide the best colors for color blindness is meeting WCAG’s Color Contrast standards, specifically W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA:
- Standard-sized text (e.g., hyperlinks, body content): 4.5:1 contrast ratio
- Bigger text (headlines, H1s, etc.): 3:1 contrast ratio
- UI variables & graphics 3:1 contrast ratio
It’s crucial to understand technical ways to simplify life for people with color blindness, but how can you reinforce them through activism? It’s best to cause a groundswell of support and make your voices heard. Learn how below!
Spread the Word About Color Blindness Awareness Day
What is the best way to share thoughts or raise awareness about Color Blind Awareness Day? Take to social media and tell as many people as you can! Use @colourblindorg on Twitter and Instagram and the following hashtags: #ColourBlindAwarenessDay or #ColorBlindAwarenessDay. You can also share these hashtags:
- #Iam1in12 #Iam1in200
Awareness is The Starting Point for Change
Regarding Color Blindness Awareness Day, perhaps self-awareness, more specifically, puts color blindness on the medical map. For example, John Dalton recognized he and his brother had a color perception deficiency first, which led to research that raised public awareness.
Naturally, increased awareness compels more people to learn about color blindness. This educational outreach can also improve overall empathy, hopefully planting the seed for much-needed change.
But Color Blindness Awareness Day serves an ever greater purpose: bringing more attention to all disabilities, both physical and cognitive. We all have a role in making the world more accessible to people of all ability levels, and awareness is the starting point that makes it possible.
Learn how UserWay can help your company turn awareness into action through digital accessibility and regulatory conformance.
UserWay: Digital Accessibility in Action
Color blindness is one of many disabilities UserWay serves with its complete framework of AI-powered accessibility tools. Learn why over one million websites trust UserWay for accessibility and compliance needs.
What should be your starting point? A one-on-one consultation is the best way to begin your digital accessibility journey. So, take that crucial first step today.
Answers to Common FAQs
Is Color Blindness a Genetic Condition?
People inherit the most common kinds of color blindness. Eye and brain-related diseases and injuries can also trigger color blindness.
Can Color Blindness Be Cured?
Unfortunately, no. It’s primarily hereditary and derived from faulty chromosomes, so gene therapy has a minimal impact.
How Common is Color Blindness?
One out of 12 men and one out of 200 women have the condition. Red-green color blindness occurs in 98% of all cases.