Colorblind FAQs

I’ve decided to hammer out this blog post today to help answer the many questions I get about being a web developer who is also colorblind. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a good old-fashioned F.A.Q.?

Frequently Asked Questions About My Colorblindness

  • What do you see? Is everything black and white?
    • By definition, “colorblindness” is a reduced ability to distinguish between certain colors. So in my case, I can see some colors but not others. I seem to have the most difficulty seeing the nuances in all the colors that fall between blue and green. And I also struggle with the colors tan, grey, and everything in between. When people say things like “cyan,” “teal,” or “cerulean,” I just smile and nod because I have absolutely no visual frame of reference for that. It’s all just “blue” or “green” to me!
  • How do you know you’re colorblind? How would you know what you can’t see?
    • This is an excellent question because I didn’t even realize I was “missing” colors until I was past 30 years old. Up until that point, I thought I just lacked fashion sense and simply wasn’t an artistic person. Both of those are true but they have nothing to do with the fact that my inability to match colors is due to an actual physical limitation. I eventually figured it out after getting into countless debates with my husband about what color our couch was (he said green, I said gray) and arguments about the color of my favorite hat (he said tan, I said grey). My favorite color is grey so it was a bit of a shock to me to realize that so many of the things I owned were NOT actually grey! Screenshot of a color block that represents the HEX color code of f4b642.png
  • How can you build websites without knowing what colors to use?
    • The awesome thing about web development and web design is that vision is NOT a requirement. I could be legally blind or have total blindness and still be able to do my job, so long as I had the right technology. Colors are the absolute easiest thing to tackle in a non-visual environment because websites process color as a HEX codes. So white would be #fff and black is #000. I don’t need to know what a client means whey they say “bluish-grey” or “a brighter orange.” Instead they can just tell me to use #f4b642 and I’ll know exactly what they mean.
      This is a best practice for everyone, regardless of how they see or don’t see colors. Using color codes in your design notes and style guides means that everyone will always be using the exact shade of orange that you want without even the tiniest of variations.

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