Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
More than 90% of today’s communication is based on visual and graphic aids, with color-based code as the main vehicle of communication. While individuals access information 70% faster when color is used in communication, color blindness affects 10% of the male population and 0,5% of the female population. Research indicates that there are approximately 350 million colorblind in the world. In the US alone, 13 million people are colorblind or have some form of colorblindness.
Technology has mainstreamed design, printing, and LED screen based operations or communication, multiplying the use of colors in a way that deviates greatly from the historic norm of black and white coloring. Despite our dependence on color, colorblindness is the most common genetic defect in human beings according to Jay Neitz from Washington University. Not only is colorblindness an issue of access, but it is also an issue of diagnostics and inclusion: 37% of colorblind people do not know what type of colorblindness they have.
Colorblindness was first diagnosed and documented in 1794, but there is still no cure.
Despite current awareness about this disability, made evident by the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Person with Disabilities that explicitly recognizes the rights of colorblind people, colorblindness still remains an invisible condition. Its implications on daily life are underestimated and diminished as factor of social exclusion. Reading and understanding graphics is key for long term success in both professional and academic settings. For example, children are often bullied in school for painting “weirdly,” defying social norms. Adults are concerned about their social acceptance, often insecure about their inadequate choice of color-palette when dressing, for example. Exclusion is more evident when colorblind people are not allowed to drive (e.g., 9 million people in Brasil), or to develop certain careers for security reasons (e.g., pilots, firemen).
A study conducted by Miguel Neiva amongst colorblind reveals that 64% consider their color confusion to be their biggest problem. 42% feel it is hard to fully integrate socially. To bridge these communication gaps, different solutions and conventions have been developed, especially when security is at risk. Redundant coding is becoming the norm for streetlights, transportation orientation signs, and maps. Other solutions include simulators that convert full color versions (printed or in screen) to a number of colorblind friendly versions depending on the kind and level of colorblindness. More sophisticated solutions with very limited availability and affordability include glasses or contact lenses that attempt to correct how colors are perceived on a one-on-one basis, depending on the specific type of disability. In situations in which coding solutions are not possible, individuals must develop their own strategies to cope. For instance, some learn by heart certain combinations of colors, use specific software to convert files into color-blind friendly versions, or most commonly, ask for help. Miguel’s research indicates that 90% of colorblind people ask for help when shopping for clothing.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Miguel is transforming visual communication through a simple, universal and inclusive code that represents colors. Through ColorADD, Miguel is building a world where the social inclusion of colorblind people becomes the norm.