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.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. 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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