Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

Game Design with Disability in Mind 3: Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD)

This is the third post in Deborah Southwell’s series on Game Design with Disability in Mind and it covers colour vision deficiency, previously referred to as colour blindness.

Game Design with Colour Vision Deficiency in Mind

What is Colour Vision Deficiency?


Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) refers to the inability to tell the difference between certain colours or shades of similar colours. In a recent game, I watched a player struggle to interact with the game resources because of the colours and colour combinations used. The term ‘colour blindness’ can be misleading as the person can usually still see colour. It is extremely rare for people to not see any colour at all. There are different types of colour vision deficiency but most people with colour vision deficiency are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue light. 1 in 12 males and 1 in 200 females inherit colour vision deficiency.

Many people are unaware they have this condition. There are some self-assessment tools online but there are many factors in the online environment that could give you a misleading reading. If you think you might have colour vision deficiency, consult an eye care specialist.

What you can do when designing games

  • make sure there is good light
  • pick the right colours – Choose a colour blind-friendly palette
  • don’t only rely on colour to convey a message
    • use both colours and symbols
    • use patterns and/or labels in addition to colours
    • use patterns and textures to show contrast
  • limit the colour palette you use to 2-3 colours with black and white
  • be careful with contrasting colours and hues
  • avoid high risk colour combinations
    • Green & Red
    • Green & Brown
    • Blue & Purple
    • Green & Blue
    • Light Green & Yellow
    • Blue & Grey
    • Green & Grey
    • Green & Black
  • write in black marker on a whiteboard instead of using colours
  • do not print on coloured paper.

Resources for Improving Game Design

Colour Blind Awareness

How to design accessible and inclusive assessment materials for colour blind learners

While aimed at school exam designers, I thought this resource had a lot of helpful information for game designers, including illustrations of good and poor practices with maps and graphs.

5 tips on designing colour-blind-friendly visualizations

ColorBrewer 2.0: Colour Advice for Cartography

Coblis – Colour Vision Deficiency Simulator

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.