RE: Color Blindness and TWing

Subject: RE: Color Blindness and TWing
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 15:28:29 -0400

> So, my questions are these:
> 1. How aware are you of color blindness?

I learned early on that because of cultural differences, colors (in general)
should not be used as if they were universal symbols. In some cultures,
certain colors carry strong negative connotations.

Add to that the fact that color-blindness exists (red/green confusion and
the grayscale varieties are the ones I am aware of) and it's a good idea to
use color in design only and not refer to it in text unless it is one of
several other items. No distinction should rely on color alone. One
shouldn't say, "The words in red indicate that..." But anything else is

> 2. How much do you understand about color blindness (causes,
> misconceptions, results)?

Grandfather and a nephew are color blind in my family. Red-green color
blindness. Certain occupations are impossible, such as being a jet pilot (at
least that's the way it used to be).

> 3. How much of an affect and what affects do you believe color
> blindness has on your audience.

Those who have it will wince if they read, "The words in red indicate

> 4. What steps do you take to limit the problems caused by
> color blindness?

I don't use references to color unless it is one of several factors I'm
mentioning. It cannot be the only distinguishing element, but it certainly
can be used so that those who can see it can benefit.

> 5. (This one is just for my own kicks and giggles) Are you or a
> technical communicator you know color blind?

I don't know any technical writer who's color-blind (except you), but it
should not prevent anyone from being a technical writer! Obviously it has
not prevented you, David.

Bonnie Granat


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Color Blindness and TWing: From: David Loveless

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