As someone who suffers a bit(*) from colour blindness, and who spends most of his working day surrounded by people who come up with software solutions for (almost) any problem we come across, I found the following post by John Nack interesting. The latest version of Photoshop, CS4, (something that I don’t have, don’t need and can’t afford!) has got a neat feature which is supposed to help those suffering from colour blindness. Here’s the post on John Nack’s blog, and here’s a screenshot showing the feature in action:
This new feature is based on research conducted in Japan, called Colour Universal Design (CUD). As you can see, the two most common types of colour blindness are weakness to the red part of the spectrum (protanopia) and weakness to the green part of the spectrum (deuteranopia). By understanding these spectral weaknesses the software can adjust the colours on the screen to better match those seen by people with normal vision. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but CS4 is basically applying different colour gamuts through the colour profiles, and they in turn must be adjusting the brightness/saturation of the different colours to compensate for the loss in sensitivity to certain colours. If anybody reading this has a better understanding, please leave me a comment!
With something like 10% of the male population believed to be colour blind (female colour blindness runs at about 0.5%) this could be an important breakthrough and the CUD organisation has in mind several applications from mobile phones, to ticket and ATM machines where you would tell the device/machine what type of colour blindness you have before you use it.
Alternatively, you could do what I do and ask your wife (as I’m sure 10% of the married male population do)!
For the record, I have slight(*) deuteranopia. In the image above, the greens in the deuteranopia corrected image look vivid to me, whereas they look pinkish in the regular image. (Please tell me that they’re supposed to be green in the regular image!!)
* depending on who you ask (i.e. ‘the wife’).