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A tweet that reads "Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included). (A thread on disability, race, and patriarchy in data visualization.)"
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Accessible data visualisation – beyond colour blindness

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young

It’s pretty low-hanging fruit to ensure your data visualisation uses colourblind-friendly colours – most colour pickers will give you a colourblind-safe palette. But moving beyond that isn’t just a matter of laziness, argues data viz guy Frank Elavsky over on Twitter: there’s also systemic racism and sexism creeping in.

“~4.5% of people with northern European ancestry are colorblind,” writes Elavsky. “But less than half of a percent of women are. This means that nearly 8% of men from a northern European background have some form of colorblindness.”

“Why do we have far more resources for dealing with colorblindness (<4% global rate) than low vision, which affects just over 30% of people?” he asks, and then posits that the origins could be white, male-dominated academia.

The thread also includes a great list of things data visualisers can do to make their work more accessible, from high contrast for the visually impaired, to better keyboard support for those with motor challenges.

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery.

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