Optimising the Presentation for Colour Blind People

“The world does not appear the same to everyone”. This very line has several meanings, but the thing we will be discussing is ‘colour blindness’ and how it can affect a presentation. Colour blindness is a big issue, and 1 out of ten people is born with this deficiency. Since it is not complete blindness, this does not affect the way people live their lives, but sometimes it can confuse them and create problems in understanding the most important signs that include colours. The colour blindness can also be problematic for the presenters who put all their efforts for creating a powerful presentation, but the colours used in the presentation, like the charts and the other graphics, does not make any difference for its colour blind audience.

What is Colour Blindness?

Colour blindness is a kind of deficiency that makes it difficult for a person to distinguish between certain colours. The deficiency makes some of the colours washed away for the people suffering from it and makes it difficult for them to primarily differentiate between red and green-related colours. Blue is also one of the colours that are unidentifiable by some of the colour blind people and sometimes, people can have a problem with classifying yellow colour as well.

The colour blindness is usually genetic, but it can grow among people with time, due to their medical conditions.

How does it Affect a Presentation?

A presentation is all about visuals and colours. Except for the rare cases, whether you are pitching your presentation in a meeting room or a big auditorium, you don’t know everyone from the audience. Same goes for the presentations that you are sharing on an online platform, where the presentation will be seen by different types of people. So you need to create a presentation, that can appeal to and is accessible by every type of people independent of their medical conditions.

Presentation for Colourblind people

Since colours play a crucial role in a presentation, you must include the colours that not only make your presentation look beautiful and effective but is also accessible to every kind of people, especially the people with colour blindness. Wrong use of colours can change the meaning of your presentation for such people. Most of the times, we use different colours in the graphs and charts used in a presentation, to show the data. So if we will go with wrong colour choices for the graphs and charts as well, it can also change the stats and data for them.

So it is quite necessary to take care of the colours in a presentation so that it can deliver the right message to the right people.

How to Create a Presentation for the Colour Blind People?

Since complete colour blindness is rare in people and most of the people face difficulty with only a few colours, you do not have to do much about the colours in a presentation. You just need to choose the right colours that are identifiable for almost every person in your audience. So following are some tips for creating a presentation keeping the colour blind people in mind:

  1. Avoid Bad Colour Combos: Though different colours on the presentation can be great for people with normal eye-sight, there a few colour-combination that are bad for the people with colour vision deficiency (CVD). The various colour combinations that you should avoid using together include:
    • Green + Red
    • Green + Brown
    • Blue + Purple
    • Green + Blue
    • Light Green + Yellow
    • Blue + Grey
    • Green + Grey
    • Green + Black

    So try to avoid these colour-combos to be used together in a presentation.

  2. Use a Colour Blind-friendly Palette: There is a reason why Microsoft Powerpoint has been the favourite of most of the people for the past many years. One of the main reasons is that the platform provides an unlimited range of tools that help people create an effective presentation in few clicks. One of these helpful tools is the colour blind-friendly palette. PowerPoint has got a specially designed colour palette that makes the presentation accessible for the people having CVD. So instead of getting confused about which colour to use and which not to, just go for the colour blind-friendly Palette to make a colour blind-friendly presentation.
  3. Use More than Just Colours: Though a colourful presentation is always interesting, keeping in mind that the audience may include a few colour-blind people as well, you can make it even more accessible. You must consider using other elements in your presentation different than the colours. This way, you not only make the presentation interesting but at the same time, colour blind-friendly, too. You can use shapes to represent objects and must label everything so that the viewers do not have to depend on colours to differentiate things.
  4. Do Not Use High Contrast Colours in the Presentation: High contrast colours can make it difficult for the colour-blind people to see and understand things on a slide. Instead of contrasting white and black, try to use some other colours to set the contrast, and it would be better if the dark coloured font is used on the light coloured background. To show the contrast between the objects on a presentation slide, instead of using the colours, you can use different kinds of patterns and textures.
  5. Do not Use Colours to Code a Graph: Most of the times, we use colours to code the lines and the other content on a graph. But we are not sure if the audience has got normal visibility or any of them has got CVD. Using only the colours in the graphs can create confusion for some of the people, as the colours you have used in the graph might be unidentifiable for them. Besides, the colours try to use labels in the graph, such that if the audience can’t identify the colour, they at least can read the labels.
  6. Include Alternative Text with all Visuals: Like the graphs, try to use labels and alternative text along with almost every visual element you are using in the presentation (which are colourful, too) so that the colour-blind people do not have to rely on the colours to differentiate between the various elements. This way, you highlight the main points in the presentation, and the audience gets the real message of the presentation.

While addressing a large audience, it is possible that you would explain almost everything to the audience, even though your presentation does not have the colour-blind friendly colours. But when you are sharing your presentation online, with the wrong selection of colours in it can change the entire purpose of the presentation for the people with CVD.


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