Guidelines for Using Color

In interactive software systems that rely on color to convey information, follow these five guidelines to assure that the users of the software receive the information.

  1. Distinguish color by saturation and brightness as well as hue. Avoid subtle color differences. Make sure the contrast between colors is high.One way help, view them in grayscale.
  2. Use distinctive colors.Six most distinctive colors, red, green, yellow, blue, black and white. Each color causes a strong signal on only one color-opponent channel.
  3. Avoid color pairs that color-blind people cannot distinguish. Such as dark red---black; dark red-- dark green; blue---purple; light green---white. Don't use dark reds, blues, or violets against any dark colors. But it is good to use dark reds, blues, and violets against light yellows and greens. You can use to check colors with various color vision deficencies would see them.
  4. Use color redundantly with other cues.Don't rely on color alone. Apple's iPhoto uses both color and a symbol to distinguish "smart" photo albums from regular albums.
  5. Separate strong opponent colors. Placing opponent colors right next to or on the top of each other causes a disturbing shimmering sensation, and so should be avoided.
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