My husband is color vision deficient (color blind) and I’m wondering if there are any assistive settings in Windows 10 to help him with his computer usage and Web surfing?
Perhaps surprisingly, up to 8% of men of Western European descent are believed to have some level of color vision deficiency, so it’s no surprise at all that all the major computing platforms – and mobile device systems – have options to help you compensate and change the display so you can more easily differentiate colors. Windows has a particularly interesting set of options tied to the common red/green color blindness. If your husband has been diagnosed, that can make the settings super easy to adjust to be perfect. The most common possibilities are protanomaly, protanopia, deuteranomaly and deuteranopia.
Even if he isn’t sure, there’s a way in the assistive settings in Microsoft Windows 10 to experiment with different options to identify which is going to work best for him. Of course, this means that you won’t be able to use his computer without adjusting it back, so this would be a good time to learn about setting up multiple user accounts on Win10 too: it’ll then keep track of which settings are configured for each of you.
Let’s start with definitions of those color blindness terms, direct from the National Institutes of Health:
The most common types of hereditary color blindness are due to the loss or limited function of red cone (known as protan) or green cone (deutran) photopigments. This kind of color blindness is commonly referred to as red-green color blindness.
- Protanomaly: In males with protanomaly, the red cone photopigment is abnormal. Red, orange, and yellow appear greener and colors are not as bright. This condition is mild and doesn’t usually interfere with daily living. Protanomaly is an X-linked disorder estimated to affect 1 percent of males.
- Protanopia: In males with protanopia, there are no working red cone cells. Red appears as black. Certain shades of orange, yellow, and green all appear as yellow. Protanopia is an X-linked disorder that is estimated to affect 1 percent of males.
- Deuteranomaly: In males with deuteranomaly, the green cone photopigment is abnormal. Yellow and green appear redder and it is difficult to tell violet from blue. This condition is mild and doesn’t interfere with daily living. Deuteranomaly is the most common form of color blindness and is an X-linked disorder affecting 5 percent of males.
- Deuteranopia: In males with deuteranopia, there are no working green cone cells. They tend to see reds as brownish-yellow and greens as beige. Deuteranopia is an X-linked disorder that affects about 1 percent of males.
Got it? 🙂 Now, let’s look at how it works…
To start, I downloaded a common color blindness test image. If you can see “74”, congrats, you don’t have that particular deficiency or issue:
To change these settings we’ll have to delve into the world of color filters, as they’re called in Windows 10. Fortunately, search is, as always, our best friend, so just search for “color filters”:
You can see that the default option is what we seek: Turn color filters on or off. Choose that and you’ll move into Settings. This is one of a category of options known as “Ease of Access”:
To start, turn on color filters and it’ll instantly change the entire screen to grayscale rather than colors. It’s, well, a bit weird if you’re not expecting the change!
More interestingly is if you scroll down a bit. There’s a color wheel that lets you identify which of the color filters is going to work best. This, of course, is something your husband needs to do since it’s his vision we’re working with…
Notice what it says: “make all 9 colors on the pie chart easily distinguishable”. For me, grayscale doesn’t do that, so let’s see what other filter options there are from the pop-up menu:
Ah, some of those color blindness names come back again. Tritanopia, btw, is known as blue-yellow color blindness. Since I’m not color blind, I found Invert super interesting. It’s quite a change:
Let’s look at one more possibility, protanopia. Here’s how that changes things:
Since all of these affect everything on the screen, not just the settings window, what happens with the original “47” test image in Invert mode? Here’s the answer:
Mars definitely looks a bit peculiar too. Hope this helps your husband get the system to his liking!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, don’t forget to check out our extensive Windows 10 Help area too.