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Theme and content developers, remember the color-blind.

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Did you know that 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some form of color-blindness? Worldwide, that works out to 300 million people who canít see the full range of the color-spectrum. As I write this article there are 520 people on the forum. Using the ratio above, that means that possibly 43 of them are color blind.

I, personally, suffer from red-green color-blindness. I have trouble discriminating red and green hues due to the absence or mutation of the red or green photoreceptors in my eyes. It makes it hard for me to see certain things easily like, is the traffic light red or green? Does this shirt match these pants? Identifying most reds and greens is more guesswork than seeing the color.

If you can see the full color spectrum, you might have a hard time understanding how color blind people see the world. Here are some sample images showing the three basic types of color blindness.

Normal Vision
Photo credit: Q-lieb-in [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Deuteranopia (Red-Green Color Blindness)
Photo credit: Tohaomg [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Tritanopia (Blue-Yellow Color Blindness)
Photo credit: Tohaomg [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Monochromacy (Total Color Blindness)
Photo credit: Tohaomg [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

This has affected my enjoyment of role-playing games somewhat. Certain color schemes on maps make it hard to identify special areas like hidden doors, traps and etc. The more elaborate the map and itís color-scheme, the harder it is to easily and quickly identify special areas.

With Fantasy Grounds, the one thing that particularly used to frustrate me was the green shortcut pins on the map. The particular shade of green just didnít provide enough color contrast for me to locate the pin without making a conscious effort to find it. Sharing the pin only made matters worse, because I had a hard time telling the red from the green pin. Thankfully, Fantasy Grounds is customizable and I was able to start working on my own custom theme with new and improved pin markers. They are now big and blue/bright red.

During the creation of my color-blind safe theme, my players have suffered through some awful color schemes. I threw color coordination out the window while I identified those icons and aspects of Fantasy Grounds that I had a hard time seeing. When new players would comment that they liked the color scheme I knew that they were color-blind too. lol.

I wanted to share some tips and links for all the theme designers, and content creators to keep in mind. These are simple to implement and wonít adversely affect your creation.

  1. Find out if your color-blind. Take the test at t=428
  2. Keep it simple. Limiting the number of colors you use will help cut down on confusion between objects.
  3. Use patterns and textures to show contrast between items. Adding a pattern to your walls makes it easier to see doors and etc.
  4. Avoid these color combinations: green-red, green-brown, blue-purple, green-blue, light green-yellow, blue-grey, green-grey, and green-black.
  5. Use high contrast when designing. Color blind people can see differences in hue, saturation, and brightness even when they can not make out the color.
  6. Consider using a color blind palette. A quick google search will turn up a wide variety of color-blind safe palettes to use.

Using any or all of these tips help those of us who are color-blind enjoy your creation to the fullest. Here are some helpful links to learn about color blindness, and for designing with color blind people:

About Color Blindness

Designing for the color blind (Color Blind Palettes)

Note: All images used are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Updated April 18th, 2019 at 13:37 by Wintermute



  1. GavinRuneblade's Avatar
    I don't have anything to add but I just wanted to voice my support for this post and the advice it contains.
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