A Practical Guide to Designing for Colorblind People — Web Designer Nam Le Thanh

Nam Le Thanh - Web Designer
3 min readJul 6, 2024


Colorblindness, or color vision deficiency, affects approximately 8% of men and 0.5% of women worldwide. It means that millions of people experience the digital world differently. As designers, it is crucial to create accessible and inclusive designs that cater to the needs of colorblind users. This practical guide provides essential tips and strategies for designing with colorblind users in mind.

Understanding Colorblindness

Colorblindness comes in various forms, but the most common types are:

  1. Protanopia: Difficulty distinguishing between red and green.
  2. Deuteranopia: Similar to protanopia, but the issue lies in the green photoreceptors.
  3. Tritanopia: Difficulty distinguishing between blue and yellow.
  4. Achromatopsia: A rare condition where individuals see in shades of gray.

Key Principles for Designing for Colorblind Users

1. Use High Contrast

High contrast between text and background is vital for readability. Ensure that your designs have a sufficient contrast ratio. Tools like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide standards to follow. Aim for a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.

2. Avoid Relying Solely on Color

Design elements should not rely solely on color to convey information. Use additional indicators such as text labels, patterns, or icons. For example, instead of using a red button to indicate “stop” and a green button to indicate “go,” add text labels like “Stop” and “Go.”

3. Test Your Designs

There are several tools available to simulate how colorblind users perceive your designs. Tools like Color Oracle, Sim Daltonism, and Adobe’s Accessibility tools can help you visualize how your design looks to users with different types of colorblindness.

4. Use Colorblind-Friendly Palettes

Certain color combinations are more difficult for colorblind users to distinguish. Avoid using red-green and blue-yellow combinations. Instead, use color palettes that are more distinguishable, such as blue-orange or purple-yellow.

5. Leverage Patterns and Textures

Patterns and textures can provide additional context that color alone cannot. For instance, use different textures or patterns in charts and graphs to differentiate between segments. This method helps all users, not just those who are colorblind.

6. Provide Alternative Feedback Methods

In interactive designs, use multiple feedback methods. For example, use sound, vibration, or text notifications along with color changes. This approach ensures that all users receive the necessary feedback regardless of their color vision.

Practical Tips for Specific Design Elements

Text and Background

  • Ensure high contrast between text and background.
  • Avoid using pure red or green text on similar backgrounds.
  • Use bold fonts and larger text sizes to improve readability.

Forms and Inputs

  • Use labels and placeholders to describe inputs instead of relying on color-coded cues.
  • Indicate errors with text messages and symbols, not just color changes.
  • Provide focus states for form fields that are clear and noticeable.

Charts and Graphs

  • Use patterns and textures to differentiate between data sets.
  • Include text labels or data values directly on the chart.
  • Avoid using color alone to represent different data points.

Buttons and Interactive Elements

  • Use clear, descriptive text on buttons.
  • Include icons or shapes along with color to indicate actions.
  • Ensure that hover and focus states are easily distinguishable.


Designing for colorblind users is not just about compliance; it’s about creating inclusive and accessible experiences for all users. By following these principles and tips, you can ensure that your designs are effective and enjoyable for everyone, including those with color vision deficiencies. Remember, good design is accessible design.

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Nam Le Thanh - Web Designer

Nam is a web designer currently living in Ho Chi Minh City. Nam is passionate about the web industry.