Enabling designers to foresee which colors users cannot see

Katharina Reinecke (Lead / Corresponding author), David R. Flatla (Lead / Corresponding author), Christopher Brooks (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Citations (Scopus)
501 Downloads (Pure)


Users frequently experience situations in which their ability to differentiate screen colors is affected by a diversity of sit­uations, such as when bright sunlight causes glare, or when monitors are dimly lit. However, designers currently have no way of choosing colors that will be differentiable by users of various demographic backgrounds and abilities and in the wide range of situations where their designs may be viewed. Our goal is to provide designers with insight into the effect of real-world situational lighting conditions on people’s abil­ity to differentiate colors in applications and imagery. We therefore developed an online color differentiation test that includes a survey of situational lighting conditions, verified our test in a lab study, and deployed it in an online environ­ment where we collected data from around 30,000 partici­pants. We then created ColorCheck, an image-processing tool that shows designers the proportion of the population they in­clude (or exclude) by their color choices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '16
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
EventCHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
https://chi2016.acm.org/wp/ (Link to conference website)


ConferenceCHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Internet address


  • Color vision
  • Situational lighting conditions
  • Color differentiablity
  • Design software


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