Colour checker for images

Colour is used in may ways to communicate information. This is where a colour checker for images comes in handy. Maps and bar charts are everyday examples of using colour to differentiate one feature from another. Advertisements, and web pages use colour to attract the eye and convey messages. But what if some people can’t distinguish colour in the same way as the chart or web designer?

Colour vision deficiency (CVD), commonly called colour blindness, occurs in approximately 8% of the population.

Colour diagram showing the three different types of colour vision deficiency. Colour checkers for images.

Colour checkers and contrast checkers are not new with various apps available, mostly for websites. From the University of Glasgow comes Colour Quest designed for conveying statistical information in various chart forms. It’s a free application that tests histograms, bar charts, line charts, scatter charts, and box plots. However, it will test any jpg or png image.

Colour Quest shows how a chart or image looks for people with either one of two types of CVD: red-green vision deficiency (Protanomaly), and blue-yellow deficiency (Deuteranomaly). It’s rare to have both where colour becomes various shades of grey.

Screenshot of the heatmap mode of the colour checker.

Screenshot of the Colour Quest colour checker application showing the differences between red-green CVD and blue-yellow CVD

The Colour Quest application is easy to use and to explore the best colours to use from the standard palette. You can try any png or jpg image and experiment with colours chosen from the left hand bar to see how it works.

The National Eye Institute has more information about colour vision deficiency. See also previous posts on readability and CVD, and older adults and colour.

The title of the research paper is, Color Quest: An interactive tool for exploring color palettes and enhancing accessibility in data visualization.

From the abstract

The significance of color palette selection goes beyond aesthetics and scientific communication, encompassing accessibility for all, especially individuals with color vision deficiencies.

To address this challenge, we introduce “Color Quest,” an intuitive Shiny app that empowers users to explore color palettes for data visualization while considering inclusivity. The app allows users to visualize palettes across various types of plots and maps to see how they appear to individuals with color blindness.

Colour Quest enables users to visualize palettes on their own custom-uploaded images. It was developed using open-source standards. Color Quest aligns with accessibility discussions, and is a practical tool and platform for raising awareness about inclusive design.

Being open-source fosters transparency, community collaboration, and long-term sustainability. Color Quest’s practicality renders it indispensable for scientific domains, simplifying palette selection and promoting accessibility. Its impact extends beyond academia to diverse communication settings, harmonizing information dissemination, aesthetics and accessibility for more impactful scientific communication.

Accessibility Toolbar