[Athen] color blindness (was question about links - underlining)

Gaeir Dietrich gdietrich at htctu.net
Tue May 30 17:24:01 PDT 2006

Hi Alice (and everyone)!

Others have responded to the underlining issue (yes, underline), but
something about the person's comment ('unless you underline, I won't be able
to see them') made me sit up and say, "Wait, that makes it sound like the
words disappear. Do people think the colors just disappear?" Probably no one
actually thought that, but it prompted me to think that maybe I should speak
to the color blindness issue itself.

I once tested a student (female, unusually) who had both red/green and
blue/purple color blindness. She turned to me after the test and said, "What
do I see?" Frankly, I wasn't sure, so since then I have taken any
opportunity that presented itself to talk to folks who are color blind about
what they see.

>From the experience of the men I have spoken with, pigments that are a very

true primary red or green are generally seen as those colors. The less true
the color (and the more pronounced the color blindness), the more the color
veers into a sort of indeterminate brownish or grayish color. I am told that
lighting can make a difference, and that undertones in a color can become
the only color the person sees; for instance, one man told me that his wife
had on a shirt that most people would have called gray green or even
greenish black, and he saw it quite clearly as green. Interestingly, with
cloth, green is sometimes used as a base for black (i.e., strip out the
black pigment and you will have green cloth).

We spent an interesting afternoon one time with a color blind friend going
through the box of 200 color markers and asking him what different colors
were. He seemed to have an enormous range of "orangish-brown" that included
everything that we saw as orange to pink to brown. Where other color blind
men I know resort to black/gray or listen to their wives, this gentleman's
color choices were his own and a bit unique to the rest of us.

There is a really great discussion of color blindness on the following site:

One other tid-bit; for something that affects a fairly significant portion
of the male population (no I'm not being sexist; it's sex-linked), it would
be surprising if there were no factors that might select for it genetically.
It turns out that men who are color blind are very good at seeing through
camouflage. Their eye is not deceived by the colors.

It makes sense when you think about it. Women, who were generally gathering
plants in early societies would need to be able to see the red berry on the
green bush, but men, who were generally hunting (or watching, but that's
another topic ;-), would be well-served to see through the color camouflage
that many animals employ.

Not sure anyone needs to know about all that, but I find the topic rather
intriguing, so there you have it. :-)

Gaeir (rhymes with "fire") Dietrich
Alternate Media Training Specialist / Instructor
High Tech Center Training Unit
De Anza College, Cupertino, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Alice Anderson
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 6:02 AM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] question about links - underlining

What are your thoughts about 'links' on this page...we're having an ongoing
discussion/debate in my world about red/green colorblind, and using red as
links without underlining. At one point, I received an email from a color
blind individual saying 'unless you underline, I won't be able to see

all comments and thoughts - to the list, or me individually, appreciated,
thanks, alice

On May 25, 2006, at 8:25 PM, Berkowitz, Daniel J wrote:

> How about something explaining how all of the members are good looking

> and smart as whips!


> OK -- better than that -- talk up the ATHEN track of programs and make

> mention of the networking and social opportunities. Networking can be

> facilitated by marking our nametags with something (a big red 'A' or a

> grecian column or some such). We all know that one night of the

> conference we will be have an ATHEN night out for dinner and drinks.



> =========================

> Daniel Berkowitz - Assistant Director

> Boston University Office of Disability Services

> 19 Deerfield Street, 2nd floor

> Boston, MA 02215


> (617) 353-3658 (office)

> (617) 353-9646 (fax)

> djbrky at bu.edu <mailto:djbrky at bu.edu> (eMail) www.bu.edu/disability


> ________________________________


> From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org on behalf of Howard Kramer

> Sent: Thu 5/25/2006 3:14 PM

> To: athen at athenpro.org

> Subject: [Athen] ATHEN text for AHG 2006 registration form



> Hello All:


> Here is the text I was planning to put on the Accessing Higher Ground

> registration form explaining ATHEN. It comes directly from the Web

> site.


> Access Technologists Higher Education Network (ATHEN) ATHEN is a

> professional association and network for Access Technologists in

> Higher Education. The purpose of ATHEN is to collect and disseminate

> best practices in access technology in the higher education

> environment as well as present a collective voice for the professional

> practice of access technology in higher education. For more

> information on ATHEN membership and its benefits, see the web site at:

> www.athenpro.org


> <http://www.athenpro.org/> Also, I only posted the option for

> Professional Membership due to space limitations. Should the other

> memberships be mentioned or will folks probably pick that up by going

> to the ATHEN Pro Web site. Any thought on a specific blurb on the Web

> site indicating the benefits of membership?


> Thanks,

> Howard




> Howard Kramer

> Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator

> AT Conference Coordinator

> Disability Services

> CU-Boulder, 107 UCB

> Boulder, Co 80309

> 303-492-8672



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Alice Anderson
Technology Accessibility Program (TAP)
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1210 West Dayton Street (3324)
Madison, WI 53705
Telephone: 608.262.2129
Fax: 608.265.6453
"Believe there is a great power
silently working all things for good,
behave yourself and never mind the rest."
~~Beatrix Potter~~

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