Seeking Input on Color-blind-friendly Design


Reader Harry Grossman recently wrote Practical Sailor with an interesting question that we had never really considered before. Grossman wrote, I am red-green color blind, as are a fair number of other males. Am I the only one who has difficulty seeing your Value Guide marks when they are placed in the colored background?

As we regularly sail with some color-blind sailors (who are subscribers), we are sure Grossman isn’t the only color-blind PS reader out there who finds it challenging to decipher the red ratings symbols in our Value Guides when they are placed on a dark-blue background. We appreciate that Grossman-skipper of a Sabre 38 named Serenity, out of North Brunswick, N.J.-pointed this out to us.

In an effort to make it easier for those with color-blindness to interpret the PS Value Guide tables, weve decided to change the color of the symbols (dollar sign, star, and check mark) when they are placed on the dark background. Weve narrowed it down to a few options for alternatives, but wed like to get subscribers input on which is easiest to see clearly-and which looks the best.

Wed appreciate it if any of you-especially those who have color blindness-would take a moment to check out the sample Value Guides pictured here, choose which you think offers the easiest-to-decipher ratings symbols, and email us with your answer ( or comment on this article at The top vote-getter will become our new standard in future issues.

Data Tables Color Blind Test
Seeking Input on Color-blind-friendly Design

In an effort to make our data tables easier to interpret for color-blind readers, we’ve come up with these alternative designs, and would appreciate input from readers on which is easiest to view.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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