The GIS Planning Design team always designs our online software products with the rule of ARI in mind. That means having applications that are easy to Access, Read, and Interpret. Today, we are happy to announce that we are breaking down GIS data website access barriers for people who live with color blindness, a set of conditions that affects 4.5% of the population, approximately 1 out of every 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women (0.5%). Worldwide, there are approximately 300 million people with color blindness - almost the same number of people as the entire population of the USA.
A major application needs to be accessible for everyone
ZoomProspector is the most frequently used software for site selectors and investors seeking robust community analysis. One of its powerful features is the ability to build a thematic map with thousands of data variables to research demographics, labor force, consumer spending, and wages. These maps show how the variables play out across the geography of any given region, so website visitors can analyze the information at a glance.
The color palette we have been using on our existing thematic maps was designed to be accessible for the majority but it was not adjustable for everyone. Those with specific color vision deficiencies (also known as color blindness) were not able to visualize and analyze data properly on GIS data web tools. We have now changed that to ensure more website visitors can visualize and analyze ZoomProspector data, regardless of whether they experience one of the forms of color blindness or not. We are proud to now offer a selection of colors and shades that can be clearly read by anyone with color blindness.
In addition, to avoid any further confusion and support those with monochromatic vision (inability to see color of any kind), we have added customized design patterns that complement the colors. With the combination of both, we are the only economic development software provider that offers color blind friendly palettes as well as being web-accessible compliant.
How can I activate the new colors & patterns on ZoomProspector?
If you have full-color vision, nothing will change for you and you can still use the standard thematic heat map color scheme. But, if you have some type of color blindness, switch on Patterns mode while applying heat maps and visualize the data without confusion. The toggle switch is located in the bottom right corner of the legend.
Learn how a person with color blindness sees data heat maps
To understand how someone with color blindness will now see our thematic maps, we have created a simulation comparison with the new Patterns mode activated. On the left side of the image, you see what a person with full color vision experiences and on the right, what a person with color deficiency can see. Move the slide back and forth to experience the differences. Below you can experiment with the three types of color blindness (Deuteranopia, Protanopia, Tritanopia), as well as monochromatic vision.
This update is part of the new launch that makes our ZoomProspector application fully designed for Web Accessibility. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog and newsletter to receive more information on the subject, as we will be releasing updates on how we are making our tools Web Accessible.
Want to learn more about how GIS Planning can help drive investment and create jobs for your region? Schedule a demo today!