Around 12% of the world's population has colour blindness, but almost 65% of those originate from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. So with this in mind, when Middle East based hotel group Rotana launched their new corporate website, being colour blind friendly was a key factor.
With more than 38% of Rotana's guests booking their stay online, one in 12 of those are likely to be colour blind. Omer Kaddouri, Rotana's chief operating officer, said that as a hospitality company, the new website needed to be accessible to everyone: "One of our primary goals was to ensure its simplicity of use and navigation, while remaining visually appealing."
Graham Nonweiler, group managing director for Nonweiler Associates, who designed the website, explained why many sites are problematic for people with colour blindness: "Today, so many websites are crammed full of colour and imagery, in an attempt to create a visual experience, yet in so doing their design can make them inaccessible to many of their potential visitors."
One of the main difficulties that people affected with colour sight impairment face, when browsing the web, is the excessive use of tonal colour variation for assisting navigation. "While these can add depth to an otherwise bland page for fully sighted visitors," said Nonweiler, "they can represent a blurred single colour wash-out for those suffering from any of the three primary types of colour blindness."
One example of how Rotana's new website has attempted to combat this is the reservation box on the home page. It is a solid blue without any red elements, and is clearly separated from the images underneath by a solid shadow. Also, the text is in solid white lettering.
Fortunately, said Kaddouri, Rotana's corporate colour is blue. "This causes the least problem for those suffering from colour blindness, but without careful consideration for the use of other colours beside it and uniform spacing between elements, our website could have easily become an unreadable mishmash of shapes."