Inclusive Design For Infographics
Updated: Aug 24
COMMUNICATING WITH COLOUR
With infographics, colour can play a role in separating and identifying different aspects of an image. Whether it's data lines on a graph or identifying colours on a map, all who view your graphics must be able to receive the information.
Some challenges come when choosing your colours for your infographics. The first and most obvious is that you want it to look good. Colours that are pleasing to the eye and also work well together. You want that information to pop and be the main focus of your design.
However, sometimes one factor when choosing your colour palette often overlooked is how does the information read to those who don't see things the same way as your typical viewer.
Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency (CVD), refers to a condition where a person cannot distinguish between certain colours in the usual way. This occurs due to the absence or malfunctioning of certain colour-sensitive cells in the retina called cones. These cones detect the wavelengths of light that correspond to specific colours.
The most common forms of colour blindness are:
Red-Green Color Blindness: This is the most prevalent type. People with this condition often confuse reds and greens. • Protanopia: Red appears as black, and certain shades of orange, yellow, and green all appear as yellow. • Deuteranopia: Green appears as beige, and reds appear brownish-yellow.
Blue-Yellow Color Blindness: Less common than red-green color blindness. Those affected have difficulty distinguishing between blue and green, and between yellow and violet. • Tritanopia: Blue appears green and yellow appears violet or light grey.
Total Color Blindness (Achromatopsia): This is rare, and those affected see everything in shades of grey.
RED–GREEN COLOUR BLINDNESS: DEUTERANOPIA
The infographic above depicts the different climate classification groups in Australia. They are identified with the use of different colours that may look good for a non-colour blind person, but for someone who has Deuteranopia, this graphic can become unclear and somewhat confusing.
The same image below shows how someone with Deuteranopia would see the different colours. As you can see, the classification groups Tropical and Desert well as Equatorial and Temperate, are very close in colour, making it difficult to distinguish which locations on the map represent what groups?
A BETTER DESIGN CHOICE
It's important to note that colour blindness is a spectrum, and many people with CVD can still perceive colours, but their perception differs from the norm. Most colour-blind individuals adapt to their condition and develop strategies for distinguishing between problematic colours. The condition is typically inherited but can also result from age, certain diseases or conditions, and exposure to specific chemicals or medications.
The image below is the same infographic with better colour choices that can now be seen as a clear division of colours by someone with Deuteranopia.
You can now clearly see the differences in colours when viewed by someone with Deuteranopia. All colours appear different and separate from each other.
As a designer and illustrator, we must remember to see what others may see. The information you wish to convey through your design should be clear and identifiable to everyone viewing it. Taken into consideration when choosing your colours and your infographics will shine for all who see them.
Infographics created by LifeLine Visuals ©
Kangaroo reference image: Photo by Max Nustedt - Unsplashed.com
Ayers Rock reference image: Photo by Meg Jerrard - Unsplashed.com