Your Red vs. My Red

Perception and design: the power of diversity

Imagine a glass filled with red wine. Close your eyes and envision the vivid hues that dance before you. As you open your eyes, take a moment to ponder the incredible diversity of shades that now fill the room. In a seminar, the young professor aptly reminded us that even a simple color like red can have 50 different shades, each imbued with its own depth and character.

But let's delve deeper into the realm of perception. Cast your mind back to 2015 when a single image ignited a firestorm on Twitter. You may recall the dress given below that polarized the internet. Some saw it as black and blue, while others were convinced it was white and gold. How could this be? The ensuing debate raised profound questions about the nature of perception itself.

washed out color photograph of a lace dress

via Wikipedia

Consider this: what if the ability to see the dress in white and gold is not a mere difference, but rather a disability in perceiving it as blue and black, and vice versa? Our understanding of disability often centers around the things people cannot do, rather than appreciating the unique perspectives and abilities they bring to the table.

By excluding certain individuals from our thought processes, we inadvertently reinforce their perceived disabilities. It is not that they are incapable; it is our failure to design products and services that cater to their needs. When we create solutions based on assumptions, we overlook the fact that even the most fundamental aspects, like the perception of color, can vary vastly from person to person.

So, how can we bridge this gap? The answer lies in embracing diversity and designing with inclusivity in mind. When crafting products and services, we must challenge our preconceived notions and strive to understand the needs of all potential users.

In this era of rapid technological advancements, accessibility should be at the forefront of our minds. We have the tools and knowledge to create solutions that cater to a wider range of individuals, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Let's challenge ourselves to see beyond what we perceive as limitations and unlock the potential of inclusive innovation. Together, we can create a world where every individual's unique perspective is not only recognized but also cherished.

In the words of the young professor, "Humans can attach meanings to certain things, and as a result, each thing can have different meanings to each individual." So, let us embrace these diverse meanings.

Stay curious, stay inclusive, and keep designing for a better tomorrow.



Celebrating GAAD, I am thrilled to launch a FREE Accessibility Design Checklist! Download now and revolutionize your designs with inclusivity in mind.

Accessibility checklist cover

Figma plugins to try this week-

Stark - This plugin has all the tools like Contrast Checker, Focus Order, Alt-Text Annotations, Vision Simulator, and more all in one place. You can find accessibility issues in a design before it goes into production—or quickly analyze and fix what’s already in flight.

Tweet of the week-

Designers: I'm a unicorn product designer who puts acessibility first. Also designers: Turn off captions on this video

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