How Blind People Identify Color
It’s so easy for us to rely on colors to enjoy our activities and do our tasks, that we often take this ability for granted. But without this basic ability, you would find that the simplest of tasks can become very difficult.
There are, however, techniques and devices that can help you if you can’t recognize colors. Below we look at the most common ones and discuss their strong points and issues.
Manual Techniques for Identifying Color
Let’s start with the basics. Blind people have adopted daily manual procedures for color matching and color sorting.
An example of this includes placing washable Braille stickers in inner parts of clothing. This lets blind people have a basic idea of what to wear and which clothes would match properly. Since blind people don’t have to use any assistive device for this technique, it can be fast and convenient to use.
Braille stickers in clothing can be helpful, although this task may take a long time to complete. More importantly, a blind person needs sighted assistance when placing Braille stickers for the first time. It can also be difficult with clothes that have several color combinations and in instances where there are too many clothes in the wardrobe.
Color Identifier Applications in Camera Phones
There are mobile camera phones that can support the installation of a color identifier. Once running in your camera phone, you can use this application by first focusing the camera to a particular area or object.
You would then activate a key in your phone to let the color identifier speak the color of the area or object. This mobile application can recognize standard colors such as red, green, and blue, and their dark, normal, and light shades. It can also recognize black, gray, and white, as well as orange, yellow, and magenta. Color combinations such as red-orange can be identified by the application.
Although this application can be very useful for blind people, focusing on a specific object can become an issue for these users. Also, blind individuals can’t buy any type of phone but have to purchase a particular brand in order to use this program. Another issue is the accuracy of the color identifier itself. The results of its color recognition depend on ambient light and the quality of the camera.
Color Identifying Functions in Screen readers
A screen reader is a computer program that lets you hear the text on the screen and the keys you press. You can use this program to read documents and browse the Internet, even without being able to see the monitor.
In addition, a screen reader can also tell you about the color of text and its background. You can simply move your cursor to a particular text and activate an assigned keystroke. The screen reader will announce the color of the text and the color of the background.
This feature of screen readers is entirely limited to electronic text. As of now, screen readers cannot identify colors in graphics and pictures.