Colorblind-Enabled Graphics

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Some time last year one of the students mentioned the question of designing figures and presentations for colorblind members of the audience. (With the way academics dress, you’d think there were a lot of them.) I can’t remember what was said about the rules for designing such figures, but I do think about it now and then: “Should I really mix reds and greens in this important figure?”

In that vein, I came across an interesting article about game design for the chromatic-impaired: “Ramblings of a colorblind gamer.”

You know Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis? Is that game any good? Because I wouldn’t know.

Table Tennis relies very heavily on the player’s ability to see the color of the ping pong ball’s trail. If the ball leaves a green streak in the air, it’s got forward spin. If it’s got a yellow streak, it’s got backspin. That’s what it seems like to you, anyway: to me, there is only the blue streak and then three other ball trails of identical color which I cannot, in my wildest dreams, hope to differentiate between. There are very subtle visual cues to differentiate forward spin from backspin, but they don’t give the player the immediate visual feedback a simple color does.

When I tried to play Table Tennis the first time, I immediately noticed the color-based spin system and, despite my best attempts (in this context, “best attempts” means “continually hitting the downspin button and cursing violently when my shot doesn’t work the way I want it to”), I got my ass handed to me by my non-mutated friends.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on March 4, 2008 8:00 AM.

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