Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Google Maps Helps Colorblind See Traffic

I ran across an article from a couple years ago on the Search Engine Roundtable website.  Google Maps traffic indicators were initially difficult to see for color deficient users (especially those with a red/green color deficiency, the most common type).  Here is a shot of the change they made:



See the full article here.  What do you think?  Is it enough of a change for your eyes?  Do you have other suggestions?

10 comments:

  1. Hi, I'd have to say that those changes are pretty slight. I have standard red/green colorblindness, and if push came to shove, I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, especially using such small lines as Google does for its maps. There needs to be a stark contrast difference, as well as a stark color difference for me to be able to tell the difference. With that said, thanks quite a bit for putting this out there. It's really annoying to try and tell what speed is what using Google's or Bing's maps, and anything showing more distinct differences is welcome.

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  2. I had really hoped the new Google maps app for iOS might address this but no luck. All they have to do is provide a color chooser for the busy/average/light traffic colors. Hey google! Bury this one nineteen menu levels deep, that's fine! It's so frustrating to sit in the car with the information RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME ON THE FLIPPING LITTLE SCREEN but my poor eyes can't grok it. :(

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  3. It seems to me that a much better solution for Google would be to add information to the color bars rather than just changing the colors. Specifically, if the bars could be animated with stripes (think barber pole) and those stripes be moving quickly or slowly, then the color becomes a non-issue for color blind people such as myself.

    I've recommended this to Google on several occasions, but have never gotten a response to what seems - to me - to be a simple solution for all.

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  4. I agree with Tad. I unfortunately can't tell the difference when I'm driving. I'm a huge fan of Traffic on Google Maps, but the phone is just somehow too small. Computer screen colors seem to be fine for me.

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    1. I've just seen that the traffic colours have changed again (Jan 2014) and seem WORSE than before... I'm surprised that G don't trial their colour schemes with the 9% of the popluation that struggle with reds and greens.

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  5. What the -real- problem I have is... with the Google Maps Android app. I cannot tell the red from the green, especially since a smartphone screen's brightness changes. My two solutions are: 1).. make the green a light green, and make the red DARK, like a maroon, or darker. 2) make a color blind mode, that has a different pallet for traffic, (red, yellow, and blue maybe? Or light blue - light traffic , yellow - slow, something else (doesn't really matter) - slow black - stopped) My biggest problem is that I don't know if traffic is dense or light, since I cannot tell the red from the green.

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  6. I just want to say I hope you start posting again. I'm a traffic engineer and my son has color-weak vision, so this blog has been interesting and helpful to me.

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  7. Thanks for the kind words. Work, home, and other side projects have prioritized my time the last few years, but I expect to get back to GreyMeansGo at some point. I've also not seen a lot of recent research on the topic, so I'll need to do some digging to see what has been going on recently.

    Take care.

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