Tools to Check If Your Reports are Color-Blind People Friendly

I have to admit that up until recently I have been oblivious to this topic myself. I am not a graphics designer, but I have always tried to pay attention to the esthetics of my reports/charts; picking colors and palettes was something that I would spend a considerable amount of time obsessing about. A short while ago I was forced to take a look at what I thought was a beautiful report through a lens of a color-blind person and I was shocked to discover that my beautiful report was completely unusable to this population of people.

Now, I am still not to the point where I can confidently advise you on how to make your reports color-blind people friendly, so what I am trying to do with this video/post is to a) raise awareness of this issue and b) suggest a couple of tools that if nothing else can help you quickly assess whether your color choices are going to work for color-blind or not.

If you have your report published for web, then you can use Toptal to provide a link to your report and then apply different filters to emulate what color-blind people would see.

Unfortunately, Publish to Web is not always enabled by organizations and we may sometimes want to analyze a particular chart or area of our report. In this case, we can use Windows Snipping tool or in my case I much prefer Greenshot – a free open-source tool that works extremely well but requires a little bit of getting used to – to take a snapshot of the relevant element of the report and then use this image for further analysis.

Once you have the images of your report ready to go, you can upload them to hclwizard.org/cvdemulator/ where you can view those images through different filters and assess how well your colors work.

I would like to get much smarter on this topic over time so if you are aware of other tools that help with making our visualizations more color blind friendly or if you are aware of other helpful resources, please share them in the comments below.

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