I'm creating an application that has a checkbox to assist colorblind users. I'm not so fond of the term because it isn't accurate, but at the same time I don't want to seem overtly politically correct.

A couple of options I'm juggling right now:

  • Colorblind assistance
  • Reduced color perception assistance
  • Color perception assistance
  • Problems perceiving colors?
  • If you want to be sure you're not giving offense, don't even mention the possibility of users not being able to distinguish all colours reliably. Just do what other software does - offer a "custom palette" configuration facility. I can see colours perfectly well, but I might just not happen to like your default choices. Jan 22 '12 at 13:45
  • I completely agree, but my application is a game of color. 'colorblind assistance' refers to visual hints that help telling colors apart. Jan 22 '12 at 13:51
  • I'm not sure I understand "game of colour". It sounds like something that colour-blind people might be better off not playing! Jan 22 '12 at 13:56
  • Whats wrong with political correctness? Someone may have problems distinguishing colors but not have what's called traditional color blindness.
    – Mitch
    Jan 22 '12 at 14:15
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    @Duopixel: I can understand the annoyance with PC circumlocutions (but re PC all by itself, what's wrong with trying not to be a jerk?). Actually I think, forgetting PC, that I was trying to address the possibility that using 'color blindness' would leave out some people that would be helped by your assistance measures.
    – Mitch
    Jan 22 '12 at 14:41

Don't worry too much about the political correctness aspect. People who have the disability know it, and are typically grateful for any software that acknowledges their condition and provides assistance. (I speak from experience: I have close relatives who have the condition, and have known many others; I also work as a UI developer, and as such I am required to make sure color palettes accommodate those with differing perceptions of color.)

As you know, there are different types of color-blindness: monochromacy, dichromacy, and trichromacy (there are other terms, such as deuteranopia, tritanopia, etc., which cover multiple ranges of color-perception ability). Check which you mean to correct for, because they can be vastly different. At least look at the article on Wikipedia, from which here are a few excerpts:

Color blindness or color vision deficiency is the inability or decreased ability to see color, or perceive color differences, under lighting conditions when color vision is not normally impaired. "Color blind" is a term of art; there is no actual blindness but there is a fault in the development of one or more sets of retinal cones that perceive color in light and transmit that information to the optic nerve.


Color blindness is usually classed as a mild disability but there are situations where color blind individuals can have an advantage over those with normal color vision. Some studies conclude that color blind individuals are better at penetrating certain color camouflages; this may be an evolutionary explanation for the surprisingly high frequency of congenital red–green color blindness.

There are various resources available to assist you in developing for color deficiencies. Look at a color simulator or two so you can get better acquainted with the types and how to correct for them. There are also plugins for Photoshop that will render your image as the various classes of color-blind individuals will see them.

My suggestion would be to offer color correction mechanisms and label them by what type of color deficiency they assist with: red-green deficiency, blue-yellow deficiency, etc.

  • 3
    Colourblind is not a stagmatised disability, so I would not worry about using the phrase. But do note @Robustos comments about the different types - checking a box for colourblind assistance, and finding it does not relevant for your type of colourblindness would be a very negative experience. Jan 22 '12 at 15:12
  • No problem on that front. The assistance is universal, similar in spirit to this sensationalcolor.com/liveinfullcolor/… Jan 22 '12 at 15:34
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    This is an excellent question and answer. It's pretty much completely morphed from a question of English word choice to a question of user experience, and as such I suggest it be either re-opened or re-asked at ux.se.
    – MetaEd
    Jan 23 '12 at 22:26

Colorblind Assist is perfectly appropriate. Some video games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 have also Colorblind Assist option for colorblinds.

Side note: 8% of men and 0.5% of women suffer from color blindness.

  • Yes, that's the normal way of saying it (I'll delete now-pointless previous comment). Jan 22 '12 at 14:12

People who are colorblind are chromodysoptic. Sorry that's of no practical use though.

[Edit: Be mindful that this is intended as a neologism, though a quite good one]

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