Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bank Drive-Thrus: Bane of the Colorblind Driver

I've often run into this situation at the bank drive-thru. I pull up, look at the lights above the lanes, and I can't tell for sure if the lane I want is open or closed. At this bank on my way home from work the green light is always on the right. As long as I remember that, I'm OK.

The other work-arounds I typically use:
  1. If there are other vehicles, I'll get behind one. Sure, I passed up a number of open lanes with this strategy, but I never pull up to a closed one.
  2. Always, always go to the window. If the drive-thru is open, the left-most lane is always open.
But I've found a better solution.

This drive-thru near my home developed a simple sign that is easier for all to see, and provides a significant benefit for color deficient drivers.

(Note the OPEN sign is on the left at this location)

Brilliant. If we were in 1992 and I still used the bank drive-thru (vs. online banking and the ATM, neither of which is ever closed), I'd seriously consider switching banks for this reason alone. Nice work, Boone County National. You've secured my hypothetical, fourth-dimensional business.

What other everyday, driving-around-town experiences have you had like this? I tend to forget about them since I've "worked around" them for so long, but I'm sure there are other common stories. Let me know.

Friday, June 5, 2009

See through colorblind eyes - new iPhone app

You can see what colorblind people see with a new iPhone app releasing this weekend. The Huetility Colorblind Simulator, the first of its kind on the iPhone, was designed to accurately model the different types of colorblindness.

According to the developers, Huetility simulates the different types of colorblindness so a user can compare the different views.
  1. Normal color vision

  2. Colorblind view (including red-green, blue-yellow, and complete color loss)

  3. Error view highlighting the regions of the color image likely to cause a colorblind viewer the greatest problems.

The app is intended for designers, content creators and iPhone game developers who want to check that colors they have used are colorblind friendly. I foresee application to the world of transportation as well.

The most promising piece of the app, in my opinion, is the ability to take a picture with the iPhone and then see how that photo looks to a colorblind person. An engineer could take photos of traffic signals, signs, and other traffic control situations to learn how the design works for coloriblind road users.

Deal of the Day

The creators of Huetility have been generous enough to given Grey Means Go readers three free iPhone downloads. So here's the deal: the first three readers to send an e-mail to brian@greymeansgo.com with "Huetility" in the subject line will receive a code to download the app for free. I'll announce the winners next week.

If you don't get a free copy, Huetility is priced at $2.99 and can be downloaded HERE.

I'm very interested to hear comments from readers after you download and use this software. I have high hopes that it will be beneficial as we continue the relation of colorblindness to transportation. Please check it out and post your reviews here.