Buzz’s Blog: On Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web

Jun 17 2012   3:44AM GMT

Lion’s missing colors: bad for folks with limited vision

Roger King Roger King Profile: Roger King

Hi.  I am a professor of computer science and have been an enthusiastic supporter of Apple computers since the birth of OS X.  Recently, I upgraded all of my office machines to Lion.

The problem with Lion for folks with limited vision.

Well, it’s a good thing Lion didn’t happen a few years ago – because until then I had limited vision.  I’ve had my corneas replaced with transplants.  (The cornea is the clear outside layer of the eye; it pre-focuses light for the lens and holds the guts of your eyes inside your eyeballs.)  I have also had cataract surgery on both eyes and am hyper-nearsighted.

Before my round of surgeries, I depended on one thing very heavily to orient me on a computer screen:


A powerful visual cue.

Not being able to see well robs you of your ability to quickly locate an icon on the display and get your cursor over to it.  That’s because it can be very difficult to interpret the exact shape of an icon.  I found that I learned the color patterns of icons, both within the OS windows and at the top of applications.

It would have been much harder to get by if I couldn’t have used color as a visual cue.

It was disrespectful of Apple.

I’m not any kind of militant – but it was disrespectful of Apple to get rid of color.  Don’t they know that many people with limited vision use computers?

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