Hardware-based color simulation solution allows designers to verify in real time
how color is perceived by those with colorblindness
Upplands Väsby, Sweden, October 25, 2006 – Eizo Europe AB (“EIZO”) today unveiled the FlexScan L797-U, the world’s first color vision deficiency simulation monitor. The FlexScan L797-U combines EIZO’s hardware and software expertise for a practical solution that will allow designers to check in real time that the colors in their designs can be accurately perceived by those with color vision deficiency – specifically protanopia and deuteranopia1.
Color has always been used as a means to convey information, but its use is becoming increasingly common with the spread of low-cost color printing and color screens for electronic devices. To avoid creating inconveniences and even dangers for those with color vision deficiency, now thought to number more than 200 million people worldwide, care must be taken when choosing color schemes for everyday items such as maps, road signs, web sites, and power indicator lights on electronic devices. To resolve this issue, a new design system called “Color Universal Design”
(CUD) has been developed. CUD is a user-oriented design system in which color schemes are based on what can easily be identified by people with all types of color vision rather than on what is aesthetically pleasing. Working in accordance with CUD principles requires tools that can simulate how color appears to people with a color vision deficiency.
The use of color that ensures nobody is disadvantaged is now being mandated by law. For example, both Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the USA, enacted in 1998, and Phase III of the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK, which went into effect in 2004, call for consideration of people with disabilities such as color vision deficiency. I the Scandinavian countries we have similar guidelines. Verva (Swedish Administrative Development Agency) in Sweden with its document ’Vägledningen 24-timmarswebben’, (holds national guidelines for the development of web and e-services within the public sector). In chapter 4.1.13 Verva talks about ’Important features or functions should be independent of the users ability to perceive a certain color’.
The growing importance of CUD has given rise to the need for tools that can be used to simulate how color is perceived by different people. EIZO brings to market the first monitor that can simulate color vision deficiency. In developing the FlexScan L797-U, EIZO worked closely with the non-profit Color Universal Design Organization (CUDO) 2 based in Tokyo, Japan, in conducting experiments with colorblind test subjects to improve the ability to identify difficult to distinguish colors. The FlexScan L797-U is the first monitor to be certified as a CUD compliant product by CUDO.
The FlexScan L797-U simulates two types of red-green color vision deficiency – protanopia and
deuteranopia. The L797-U is equipped with an EIZO-developed image processing integrated circuit that does all the color conversion processing in real time – even moving images. With the bundled UniColor Pro software3 – also developed by EIZO – the designer can instantly switch from a normal viewing mode to the Protanopia and Deuteranopia viewing modes. Until now, tools available for simulating color vision deficiency have been software based so the color conversion process can be time consuming depending on the size and quantity of images to be converted, making these tools of limited practical use.