title:A Neglected Challenge of Business author:Arlene Evans source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_4664.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

?Innumerable Web sites and charts and graphs used in business are just mush to me,? said Jim Doane. Font colors and background colors make the reading impossible for Doane.
He is one of the two in one hundred males (and rare females) who is severely affected by color vision deficiency (CVD) or colorblindness. He, like most people so affected, does see blue and yellow, so he is not ?blind? to color.
Web developer Ed Nolan keeps people like Doane in mind. He has an unusual occupation, especially for someone with CVD. Nolan is one of the 1:12 males affected (1:200 females are affected) by CVD. Although not as severely affected as Doane, Nolan can tell red from green; however, he remembers coloring a picture of a boy green when he was in elementary school. ?It looked tan to me,? he said. As a Web developer, Nolan works with colors every day, which he does numerically. ?What might look the same or very similar to me may be worlds apart numerically,? he said.
An engineer, Doane said his secretary marks colorful charts and grafts with the name of the color. ?Then I know what people are talking about before I went to a meeting,? he said.
Doane said he had a map in front of him, ?I?m working on a project to integrate the water projects of two towns and the whole darn thing is color coded. I had to have somebody go thru it and mark all the lines with their color names. What I found, though, is that even people with good color vision have trouble sometimes because the people making the lines don?t do a very good job with contrast.?
Doane is a volunteer on the board of the joint water commission in his county. He said, ?They?ve been very good about accommodating me — not only are the lines in color, they also have symbolic representation like an X or an O. So when they make a presentation to me, I can figure out what they mean. I know it?s been a struggle for them, because what I see is absolutely incomprehensible to them, but they?ve been very good to me. They do know what I can see now.?
When he first started working, Doane says people dressed conservatively. ?My wife embroidered everything with dots,? he said. ?So items with one dot went together and items with two dots went together. And everything with three dots went together. In the years we?ve been married, she went from that to buying me clothes she thought were outlandish and I thought were pretty dull. Now I buy clothes myself from one particular salesperson.?
Deliberately playing tricks on him because of his color vision is something else Jim has had to contend with. He said co-workers have created colorful graphs, then laughed at his discomfort when he couldn?t absorb information. He wished they?d find another form of amusement.
?My colorblindness didn?t bother me much on the job until the mid ?80s when people started getting color copiers. Then they felt obligated to use all 256,000 colors,? he said. That isn?t the only modern convenience that bothers him. ?Some power point presentations have a laser pointer, which I can?t see.?
If you have any questions about what a person with colorblindness can or cannot see, remember there are many degrees of CVD. Asking would be the best course of action, whether or not you know someone like Doane or Nolan is in your audience.
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