Friday, February 22, 2013

Color Differences

My mom has long wondered what my brother and I see, due to curiosity and potentially some latent guilt from passing along the color blind deficiency genes to us.  I don't feel bad about it, other than possibly knowing that I might not get the full effect of the fall colors in the canyon, but then again, I don't know what I'm missing.

I've written elsewhere about interesting conversations arising from my colorblindness, as well as the importance of colors and symbols.  Because I'm missing something, I notice things others often don't, like that in the board game Ticket to Ride, there are symbols along with each color to help distinguish the different lines.  They aren't just decorations to make the cards look pretty.  Go look real quick; I'll wait.

When I went to get tickets to Les Miserables, I had checked out what seats were available online and knew the row and seat numbers I wanted.  I went to the theater to buy the tickets instead of paying the online service fee, because we all know it's cheaper to perform a transaction with a real person than an automated system.  Of course, when I got there, those seats were no longer available.  The girl asked me what other seat I might like as she turned her screen to me.  The color scheme online to show which seats were or were not available was great - high contrast and easy to tell the difference.  Her screen looked all the same.  Every seat was the same color.  I just told her I couldn't tell from the colors which were available or not, and she had a look on her face that showed she obviously couldn't comprehend that someone couldn't tell the difference.  There was a little bit of a glare that may have contributed to making it difficult to tell.  I just had to ask for something close to the middle and trust her judgment.  Why the system at the theater used a different color scheme than the one online, I have no idea.  Better yet, put a big, high-contrast X in the middle of the ones that are not available or put them in a very light gray.

So for my mom, movie theater girl, and anyone else who has asked repeatedly what color I think everything in the room is, you can now see what I see.  Actually, I have two things for you.  The first is based on this graphic that was making the social media rounds recently on the differences in how women and men see colors, which I've included right here.

Then there's a spinoff on the differences in how dogs and developers see colors.  So I thought I'd take the men vs. women one and replace the generic guy on the right with me.  I only thought just now that as long as I was editing it, I should have actually put a picture of myself over there.  Oh well.  Pretend it's me, except that my shirt is blue, instead of the red one he is wearing.  I'm kidding; I know it's green.

So there you go.  Of course, just reading what I call the colors doesn't really mean you actually see the same thing.  Deep down inside you actually think I'm making it up.  Or that if you talk louder, you can get me to understand that you want me to squint and look harder and then I'll see the same thing you do.

Well, you're in luck, because there's a second way, where you can actually see the same thing, not just read what I say about what I see.  The Huffington Post was kind enough to put up some examples and link to the Colour Blind Simulator used to create the examples.  I assume it works, because the original and processed images I uploaded looked the same to me, and when my second grader said the colors of the two pictures were totally different, I made fun of him and said he needed to squint and look harder, and then he'd see they were the same.