Color Blindness vs Power BI

Power BI is a great tool to present data and it has a lot of potential, despite its youth.
Unfortunately, it misses some accessibility features that make life easier to people affected by color blindness.

This post is intended for people with a normal vision, providing them some tools to better understand the color perception.

Who is affected by color blindness?

We know that there are different kinds of color blindness, the most commons of which cause a distorted perception of Red-Green and Yellow-Blue colors.
The National Eye Institute says that at least 8% of men and 0.5% of women in Europe suffer of the Red-Green color disability, while the other deficiencies affect less than 1% of population.

Probably, one of your team-mates is color blind and you don’t even know it!

How color blind people see the colors?

To better understand the impact of color blindness, look at the following picture: on the left there is a simple Bar Chart; on the right, instead, there are a few simulations of the same chart seen by people affected by a disease.

 

Normal vision Protanopia
Deuteronopia
Tritanopia
Protanomaly
Deuteranomaly
Tritanomaly

Power BI comes with a default color palette to use in charts that is quite good to avoid confusion, but if you use colors outside the standard range (for example, because you have corporate theme constraints), you can easily make mistakes.

Apply different color visions to your Power BI charts

At OKViz, we care about this problem, so we are proud to introduce the following initiatives:

  • First: from the next version, we will include a new section in the property panel of each of our custom visual, called Color Blindness by OKViz. Through this panel, you will be able to apply different color visions to the visual itself, to become aware and to calibrate hue and contrast of the colors to use.
  • Second: we made the above panel an open source library, FREE to use by all the developers. If you are one of them and want to implement it in your custom visual, just follow the steps described at https://github.com/okviz/ColorBlindness.

    Would not it be great if this library was also implemented by the built-in visuals, too?

  • Third: we created a custom visual called Color Helper by OKViz, a simple Donut Chart with a dropdown list to apply different color visions to its slices. Color Helper is useful to temporarily replace any existing visual on your reports, just to figure out how people will see the colors that the visual itself uses.

    Find out more and download it from http://okviz.com/color-helper.

 

What do you think about it? Leave you feedbacks in the comments below.