Change colors on range maps: red-green color-blind user issue

For example, the “orange”, unconfirmed states could have dotted borders.

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Also, as a non-colorblind person, I have to admit that I’ve never understood the meaning of the orange states anyway. Orange states often have plenty of confirmed observations or no observations at all. If they are supposed to just be for unconfirmed observations, they don’t work very well.


I do a lot of teaching and screen-sharing, so I need my computer to display for people with normal color vision and show normal colors for diagrams, etc. (and I’m not interested in switching back and forth all the time). If I’m creating anything that people with normal color vision will be using, I need to work in that colorspace.

Also, if I’m reading a paper or something that has a specific legend where it describes a color scheme, etc., having a changed color via a filter so I can differentiate colors can make the color scheme legend not apply.

For color schemes with only a few colors, it’s generally pretty easy to use a colorblind friendly scheme (the biggest fix is just to use different levels of light/dark…color doesn’t even matter then!). For schemes with lots of colors, I think it’s pretty hard to make one that doesn’t confuse some type of colorblind person, and personally it doesn’t bother me - that’s just the way it is. I just deal with it.


I was not aware of this accessibility setting in Windows 10 (it was buried in settings and I needed to research how to find the option). I tried it out. I have tried something similar on my phone before but did not benefit from the setting. The way these filters work is to push the problem colours further from one another to result in less confusion between them. Filters for my form will go so far as to push blue to be purple and yellow to be dark grey so they are not too close to blue and pink respectively. In Win10, the setting is a hard filter with no ability to adjust levels to suit partial colour deficiencies. I tried Dalton as recommended and it was slightly better for the ability to adjust levels. For my colourblindness, it causes more difficulty than ease to apply a filter to everything I see on a screen. It becomes more difficult to communicate with others. My challenges are most acute when looking at colour-coded maps, charts, graphs, et cetera. Therefore a total filter solution is not as helpful as a setting within an app itself.

These glasses are expensive. I had the opportunity to try them on for an hour. Like screen filters, they function to distinguish colours by pushing problem colours further from each other. For the context of using them to parse colour information on a web page, they have the same usefulness as any screen filter.

My support for this comes from the principle that accessible design benefits all users. Users without colour-deficient vision may still have palettes that read better to them. Such users are not likely to go elsewhere to download/apply colourblindness filters because they do not otherwise require them. They may still appreciate a few options for themes that convey the information to them a little easier than a default option.

This is also not a complex solution. 3-5 colour theme options are plenty sufficient and could be implemented in the same way that the default colours already are. If not in the settings, they could be toggled on the map view interface itself. Users that require it for ease of access and users that enjoy a small amount of customization would both benefit.


I don’t know coding so I don’t know if that’s a prohibitive amount of work…but if not it seems best.

I had a former professor who is absolutely colorbind; they basically see some shades of gray, black, and white if I understood them correctly. I’m not even sure how to really approach that type of thing. And stuff that fixes it for people like me won’t help them, and may break it for other people with other forms of color blindness.

Thank you for bringing this case up as it reminds me of another use that could benefit all users. The solution to this would be in differing patterns rather than just colours to distinguish information. This has the added benefit of readability even when printed in black-and-white. If users are printing off maps generated by iNaturalist (perhaps in academic settings) without access to a colour printer, the ability to enable a pattern overlay would be useful.