Accessible Color Picker

App Development and Programming
Hi, I'm working on making our color picker accessible but not sure what would be most useful. First I'd like to explain how our color picker works. We have a screen with a grid of buttons. Each button is for a predetermined color. None of the buttons have accessibility labels yet, so they all just read 'button'. We'd like to give each color a meaningful name. Something like "Watermelon Red" or "Lemon Yellow". Something that has the actual name of the color, like red or yellow, but also some descriptors so we can distinguish between two reds. Is there a known standard we should use for naming the colors? Perhaps something that most Voice Over users would know about. Or are we thinking about this all wrong to begin with? Perhaps there's a better value to use as the accessibility label? Any help on this would be great. Thank you so much, Jake Carter



Submitted by Jake Carter on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I should have also asked if you know of any apps that have accessible color pickers. I've checked a few iOS apps but haven't found any yet. If we could see how others are doing it, that might give us an idea of how we should. Thanks again, Jake Carter

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Jake, First, thanks for taking the time to come in to AppleVis and asking us questions regarding your product. Perhaps, somebody else will understand your question better than I. I am unclear what you mean exactly by an Color Picker. So from what I understand that you said there a variety of colors on the screen that you are needed some logical color table that we would recognize or undertand, correct? So we would then pick those colors based on your naming? Well, I am unaware of myself of any official table of color names but we do have Color Recognizer apps that help us determine what colors are what. My suggestion is the: ColoredEye They have several databases of color to pick from. There are the Basic and the Detailed colors. So playing with this could give you some colors that to myself are easy to understand. Be aware they have the Cray9ola names but of course that is not logical nor what I would recommend. Hopefully, someone else might have a better solution for you. So I hope this helps you out.

Submitted by Jake Carter on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In reply to by AnonyMouse

AnonyMouse, Thanks for your reply. What I meant by a 'color picker', it's just a way for the user to choose a color. Colors can be applied to text or to a background. A color picker could be as simple as two buttons, one back and one white, that the user can choose to apply or as complicated as an image of all possible colors where the user could click the area of the image that had the color they wanted to apply. The color picker that I'm trying to make accessible is just a list of buttons each with a predetermined color on it. I had forgotten about that app ColoredEye. From looking at that post you linked to, I like the idea of their 'Detailed' color list (example: light grey, dark grey, etc). I will definitely check it out. Thanks again for your help. Jake Carter

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanks for asking advice.. I am going to give a couple things to consider.. I have only been blind a couple of years.. So I would know Robins Egg Blue. Same as someone legally blind who has some shades of color . However someone blind from birth can't always envision that.. But they usually understand using light or dark to describe the color blue. This is what I've seen in my experience. Hope that helps. Good Luck!

Submitted by Florian on Thursday, November 15, 2012

In reply to by J.P.

Hi Jake, I think the fact you are even researching this shows a commitment to accessibility that is rarely seen these days, let me commend you before I say anything else. Now, the problem with colors is that blind people often don´t have any way of knowing what a color is, that is, if they´re blind from birth. However, using easy-to-explain labels like 'off-white, baby blue, etc, will make the visually impaired person able to for example ask help for setting a certain color. By reciting the color name to someone sighted, the sighted person can help them determine if a color fits with another color. They can remember this and use it again in future projects. There are of course also blind people who do know what color is, and you would help them with these as well. For inspiration, you could take this already existing accessible color picker: Good luck, Florian