Colour contrast for the visually impaired

Colour around the home and how visually impaired people use colour to aid in their movement and navigation around the home is essential for safe movement. In this blog we are going to look at the importance of colour to be inclusive of all people when thinking about design.

Whether this is for a public space or in your own home, it is vital to think about how colour is perceived by the visually impaired and how important the right colours are.  Of course there are varying levels of sight loss, however the principles below remain relatively the same. The use of bold bright colours can help distinguish walls and ceilings which can be one of the first things a person does when they first enter a room to determine the space. Lighting is also important, light colours can help to make a room look bright, but gloss paint or white walls can also cause glare, so its best to stick to matt finish for paint. Patterned surface can cause confusion and make the background blend making it harder for the visually impaired person to navigate.

When thinking about the colours to use, consider the room or surface, for example to make a door stand out, paint the door in a different colour to the door frame. In the kitchen if you have wall mounted cupboards it might be worth adding a contrasting tone to edges to make them more visible. Eggshell paint is a great alternative to high gloss which is typically used in Kitchens or bathrooms and will eliminate any glare.

Contrast in colour is essential for a visually impaired person to navigate around the home. Think bright solid colours such as reds, orange and yellow, highlight edges of items so they are easily distinguishable and avoid using patterns which can blend, blurring otherwise sharp clean lines which are easier to depict.

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