I stumbled on a very interesting article today called “Tips for Designing for Colorblind Users” by Joshua Johnson (Read the article here.) While not specifically aimed at ecommerce website design, this article calls out a number of issues that should be considered when designing any website. With the recent launch of the first segment of our Ecommerce Website Best Practices Series and how website design impacts a site’s sucess, this article couldn’t be more timely. (Download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design: Increasing Ecommerce Conversions and Reducing Cart Abandonment here.)
It’s estimated that 8 out of every 100 men and 1 out of every 200 women experience some level of colorblindness. If that doesn’t sound like a large number to you, consider that in 2008 there were 312 million people in the United States. That’s 24,960,000 colorblind men and just over 1.5 million women. Sounds like a bigger audience now, doesn’t it?
Johnson uses visual examples coupled with detailed explanations of how a colorblind user might see them and follows up with how a designer can make changes to improve user experience for those with colorblindness. Much of this improvement comes in understanding that colorblindness isn’t so much about color choices as about the shades of the colors used together, especially when using two colors that might be perceived as similar or the same. Starker contrasts are generally easier to see.
I particularly liked Johnson’s suggestion to add more than a color change to a mouse-over to ensure that those with colorblindness are able to see the change. Johnson suggests that you “add a stroke, drop shadow, or anything else you can think of to make for an increased visual difference that doesn’t simply rely on a color change.” He then shows a sample of how adding a white stroke (or line, for those that aren’t in-the-trenches-designers) around a button makes that button so much easier to see.
If you are considering a site redesign or want to optimize your ecommerce site for 26.5 million more people, I encourage you to check out his article.