Ask the Color-Blind Dude...

After having bonded with Monty in this thread (well, okay; not “bonded” so much as “Hey! You, too?”), I thought I’d start a “Pay attention to me!” thread about color-blindness.

Which isn’t to say that I have any professional expertise about the causes (I blame my Ma’), cures (poke yer eyes out, Oedipus, and then bitch about colors) or whether I’m legally allowed to get a handicapped parking license plate (“Yeah, Grandma, you can’t have this space because the friggin grass is NEVAH greener to me!”), but I will answer all of yer burning questions about what it’s like to live with this horrible, soul-wrenching, debilitating trait.

Like, for instance, while I was driving for the first time through Nebraska City, Nebraska and found myself running multiple red lights. Damn things were on their sides (never seen that before) and I assumed that I was… well, guessing correctly.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” my best friend shouted when he awoke from his nap.

“Driving,” I said. I mean, after all…

“Stop! You’re shotgun for the rest of this trip!”

Well, really! :slight_smile:

So, are you red-green colorblind? Totally colorblind? Other?

Assuming red-green (I’m under the impression that’s the commonest form) I have one question I’ve always wanted to ask: If someone points at something and says “That’s bright red” or “that’s bright green”, what color do you see? Black? Brown? Gray? To my knowledge I’ve only known one person who was color blind and he was kinda sensitive about it, so I never asked.

Wow, it sounds like you are pretty colour blind. I’m a little red-green colour blind, but i only notice this in those coloured dots tests, it never affects me in real life. So to answer ForgottenLores question - i see red and green.

But i would be interested in what you see Skipmagic - can you see red or green at all?

How do you buy clothing? Do you take someone with you to make sure you don’t get clashing colors, or do get colors that are flattering to you?

—Eve (yeah, like you thought I was gonna ask about anything but clothing?)

ForgottenLore: Well, the last eye doctor to whom I went suggested that I was both red/green and blue/yellow color-blind. (I may have misunderstood as of the two of us, I was the only one who seemed interested in knowing. Bastard. :)) Both are red-deficient; however, after reading this site, it looks (from a strictly layman’s point-of-view) that I “suffer” from Deuteranopia.

Sounds like I have a dinosaur-shaped tumor growing from my ass, doesn’t it? I wonder what color that would be?

Bright red, to me, looks like it’s either orange or, well, bright red. When a color is by itself, I’m usually okay. When it hangs out with buddies (such as in a puzzle), I’m screwed. I try, sure, but mostly because I like mocking myself. :wink:

Bright green almost always looks like a yellow to me; same with buff and ivory. A traffic light green generally looks white to me. Heck, off-white looks white to me. Auntie em says I’m pink, but I still fill out “White” on those census forms.

mooka: I’m not totally color-blind, although I’ve oft wondered about what it’d be like. I’m lucky, I feel. I’m also an excellent way to break the ice at parties–and not just by throwing ice cubes at my head. Plenty of people still play the “So, what color is this?” game. (All of you are exempt from that playful condemnation; after all, I brought this on myself with this thread.) It’s not like being color-blind is a stigma, although it can lead you to run red lights and show up in an outfit that Sonny Bono and Cher would have picked out together. (Okay, to be fair, that last example combined being both color-blind and taste-blind.)

Eve: I try to take a woman with me when I go shopping because 1.) less women are color-blind than men and 2.) stereotype that it is, most men I know suck at fashion. (“Get the club shirt! And the cordurouy pants! And the wife-beater! You are sooooo gonna get laid tonight!”) However, if I’ve saddled up the bandwagon (“Hey, everyone else has new spring clothes–I want some!”) and I go shopping on a whim, I tend to ask the friendliest looking woman walking by me at the store.

Mostly I want to know if the colors clash; sometimes, if that wayward woman is attractive, I want to know if the clothes are trendy, too.

Blue, gray, white and black are safe for me. I mean, most anything goes with those colors, right? For all else, I am at a loss. My wardrobe is replete with blue and gray shirts.

But things like khakis and ties and the whole “Make sure that a spot of color from your pants matches a stripe of color on your shirt before you go out…” rule completely escapes my grasp.

The sad part is that, on my own, I will never look like an Ambercrombie & Fitch model. The happy part is that I will never look like and Ambercrombie & Fitch model. :slight_smile:

My dad is colourblind as well, and we put little numbers on the tags of all his clothes. For example, he knows that any shirt with a one on the tag will go with any pants that also have a one. Works pretty well for him, he always looks dang dapper.

Interesting thing is, both of my brothers are color-blind as well as my father. It’s your mom who hides color-blindness inside her biological Easter egg, so you don’t strictly get it from your father. The fact that my dad can’t tell if his grass is green or brown is sheer coincidence.

And hey, Elret, I’ve really thought of going with a number system. But it all boils down to finding someone who you trust won’t screw with you. And, basically, finding someone who, although can see all the colors, has enough color-savvy to tell what looks good and what doesn’t.

But when I find an outfit that matches and looks good on me, I keep it until the threads rot away! :stuck_out_tongue: (A fact that probably has embarrassed any number of my SOs.)

My mom used to work with a woman with yellow/Blue colour blindness. And was always beautifully dressed. often in blues and pinks, which suited her complexion fine.

Her secret was she always shopped at the same stores, and not only had a clerk that helped her, she bought “outfits” as a unit. She also had a card file and number system. Ie blouse 1-A goes with suit one, and so on.

She could never tell if it was nice out by looking out the window, since the sky always looked some shade of grey to her. And she despised any shade of green, once said to my other in her nice sort of tourquoise sweater “good god, why would you wear something like that!”

How did you first suspect you were colorblind? When did it come to your attention?

I ask because I was showing a friend of mine’s son how to build a computer, and we’d just installed a CD-ROM. He asked me why the light flashed brighter every so often. When I looked at it, it was one of those old Sonys that flashed alternately orange and green. We spent the rest of the evening surfing the web for information on colorblindness; he was sixteen, and never knew he had it.

Eh, I believe I was in first grade. Neosho Heights Elementary School in Oswego, Kansas.

I think it was a routine vision test that led them to my deep, dark (not any praticular color of dark, mind you; just “dark”) secret. We took a test similar (if not the same test) as the Ishihara test.

I saw no numbers and, in addition, a few 3-D pictures failed to work their 3-D magic. In fact, even today I can’t use the red and blue 3-D glasses because they don’t work for me. I just see the separate images shoved up against each other. Around Halloween of this last year, while on a business trip, I was visiting the Queen Mary near Anaheim, California, for the ship’s annual haunted house spectacular. One of the mazes was filled with 3-D decorations, all of which were meant to distract you from the occasional staff members wanting to scare you.

Me? I was disappointed. But maybe it had more to do with the organizers playing bad heavy metal at ear-splitting volume just to scare you. Or confuse you; I’m not sure which. :slight_smile:

I’ve the same problem as your friend’s son, MrVisible. Occasionally when I call in for support of my servers, Dell asks what color the blinking lights are on the RAID drives.

“Um… I dunno,” I say rather dumbly. It’s an annoyance, but not something I can’t get over.

This may be a fabricated memory, but I think my parents suspected I was color-blind (or maybe they just thought I weird) when I kept giving the wrong answers for the “What color is that car?” game. I never failed (and still don’t) to think that the purple cars were blue. For me, purple doesn’t really exist. It’s either blue, or so filled with red that I think it’s pink.

My new car is silver. :smiley:

Do you ever come across a webpage for which the content is inacessible to you because of color? For instance, a list of people that has males listed in one color and females listed in another, but they’re in colors you can’t distinguish?

We have a friend with a teenage son who is profoundly colorblind–as far as I understand it he can’t see any color at all. We saw a rainbow the other day and I had to wonder how would it look to this kid. Would he even see anything?

Achernar: Yes; in fact, it’s one of my biggest (private–at least until now) pet peeves. Not only do people sometimes create really crappy web pages (guilty as charged!), but they do so in colors that makes it difficult for me to see how crappy. And really, where’s the fun in that?

Take, for instance, a friend’s website for his LAN party. I don’t go to these geeky get-togethers (not that I’m knocking either them or the people who do go), but I do enjoy signing on to his forum and creating havoc. I’m a friendly troll. I only eat one billy goat each time I visit. :slight_smile:

Anyway, the red text on a black background makes it near impossible for me to read. Or even a dark brown background–that’s difficult, too. So, using Opera as my web browser, I have to remove almost all formating (“author mode”) to see what is being said.

It’s also the reason that, when it comes to my artistic talent, I have to stick with either non-color pencils or plain pen-and-ink. Now that used to depress me a bit because I always looked at the color paintings out there and felt a bit sad that I couldn’t do the same. But then I got laid for the first time and forgot all about being depressed. :slight_smile:

Helena: I’m only partially color-blind, so I’m not sure what your friend’s son saw. As I understand it, people with his version (called achromatopsia) see a world mainly made up of shades of black, white and grey–similar to a black-and-white television. My guess is that, yes, he saw parts of the rainbow, but a lot of it (if it was a strong rainbow) probably faded into the sky for him.

That happens to me, too. I see a faint yellow (or green, or buff, or tan, etc…) and possibly a different hue of blue than the sky, but that’s about all. I fear that if I ever follow the rainbow that I see to a leprechaun’s pot o’ gold, he’ll cry “Foul!” and just give me a scratch-off lottery ticket.

Da’ wee bastirrrd. :wink:

Achromatopsia only rears its ugly and colorless head in about 1 person in 33,000. In addition to the lack of color, they also suffer from poor visual acuity. Plus, even in daylight are they sensitive to the light, so no matter what Timbuck 3 believed about wearing shades for the future, achromatopsia sufferers have to wear them constantly.

Yep, he can see it. Maybe not what you see, but he’ll be aware of the brightness and contrast.

Okay, that’s interesting. Thanks for the response. It’s important to me that my webpage be accessible to people with disabilities, so besides avoiding red on black, can you give me some tips as to what color combinations to use or avoid? I have a style-sheet switcher that ideally would give everyone a wide variety of choices, but unfortunately, I don’t have it working in Opera yet. :smack:

I’d think with all the different types of colorblindess it would be nearly impossible to have a given color scheme that everyone can see, but I’m no expert.

One question I’ve wondered about, is what does white look like to a colorblind person? Obviously, a complete answer depends on the type of colorblindess. I’d think that a person with the common red-green colorblindness will see white as being more blue. is that correct?

Having just visited your web page in IE 6, I say that, where my eyes are concerned, everything is very readable. When it comes to reading, I prefer plain old black and white anyway, so your monochrome style-sheet works best for me. However, that’s just a personal preference as the pacing and standard style-sheets work fine, too.

That said, for those afflicted with the same level of color-blindness as myself, it’s useful to see text that contrasts with the background. So, if you have a light background, try using dark text; and vice-versa, of course.

Problem is, when even different colors start approaching the same shade, so to speak, it’s hard to tell the difference. If you have issues reading the light green text on a light yellow background, I can guarantee that I won’t be able to see anything.

So, the text/background combinations (off the top of my strawberry-blond noggin’) I’d avoid are:

Red/Dark Green (throw in a dark red with a light green and you should be kosher)
Navy Blue/Black (common sense, I’m sure–seems like everyone has problems with those)
Light Blue/Grey/Light Green

Once again, the biggest issue with the readability of the color pairings listed is that they provide little to no contrast in my eyes. I’m sure some are combinations that you’d never consider anyway, but just in case your mind goes wacky one night… :slight_smile:

Seriously though, thanks for considering us when you make your web pages. It really does help.

Funny that you should mention that, actually. See, I always thought I was making the blue tinge up in my mind when I saw a duller white compared to a much, much brighter white. The dull white does indeed look like, to me, it has a blue tinge. Huh. Verrrry interesting…

Kinda the same thing with diamonds, too. When I was talking with my step-uncle about getting a diamond for auntie em, he showed me two diamonds. The first, I thought, was clear. Then he showed me the second, really colorless diamond, and all of a sudden the first one, in contrast, looked clouded. It was supposed to look yellow, but to me it took on a color that I couldn’t quite make out.

But the second one wasn’t as sparkly as the first (the cut was slightly off), so I went with the first choice.

When you say that bright red looks like orange, how do you know that it looks like the orange I see if you can’t distinguish orange? Does that make sense? Not being colorblind I see red as others without colorblindness see red…and you see red as your red which happens to be different from my red. I don’t quite understand how you know the red you see looks like my orange if the orange you see wouldn’t be the same as my orange. Perhaps I could be mistaken that your orange is the same as my orange and that’s why you can say it looks like my orange when you are looking at red. I hope I’m not being confusing but I’ve been curious about this and did not want to ask this question to anyone who is colorblind in fear of offending them. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? I apologize if I’m completely missing things somewhere but I’ve often wondered about this and never quite given it enough thought to think it through so that it would make sense.

I’m colorblind too, but only partially, and I wondered the same thing when I saw this post. I have trouble distinguishing between two shades of colors and the like, but most of the time if I think something is red, so does everyone else. The thing is, the names for the colors aren’t inherent to the objects- we can both look at an apple and agree it’s red, but there’s no way to cross check and see if “my” red is the same as “yours.” In fact the only reason I know my eyes are deuteranomolous (I think I have that right) is because when I took the test they told me I was. In other words, what WhetherMan said: How DO you know your red is everyone else’s orange? The only way I would imagine you’d know is if they told you so.