Collaborating in Revu with people who have color vision deficiency

This article applies to:

  • All versions of Revu

What is color vision deficiency (CVD)?

Color vision deficiency (CVD) is the reduced ability to perceive colors, also known as color blindness. This condition is diagnosed by a doctor and affects an estimated 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women (National Eye Institute).

Figure 1. Deuteranopia is a common type of color vision deficiency, affecting a person’s ability to see red and green colors.

There are different types of CVD, and each one is affected by abnormalities in the eye’s cone cells that respond to red, green, and blue light.

The three most common types of CVD are:

  • Deuteranopia (red-green)
  • Protanopia (red-green)
  • Tritanopia (blue-yellow)

In Figure 2 below, each wheel illustrates how the same colors are perceived by a person with CVD. Please keep in mind that the severity of the condition varies from person to person.

Figure 2. Three types of color vision deficiency and their affected color palettes.

Working with a person who has CVD

Because the condition doesn’t bear any physical characteristics, there’s no way to know if a person has CVD unless they tell you. If someone lets you know they have CVD, ask them if they’d like to share any tips or resources for inclusive collaboration.

Tips for inclusive collaboration in Revu

When collaborating in Revu, it’s important to consider that other people may see colors differently than you. We’ve compiled a list of tips for collaborating with people who have CVD, which can be adapted into your workflows.

Don’t rely on color alone to convey meaning

Colors are often used in drawings to separate spaces, indicate the status of a markup, call attention to an area, display changes to a design, and more. When colors are used as a visual aid, they can be helpful and speed up a review process. But when only colors are used to make meaningful comparisons—that is, without additional data to define those comparisons—colors can pose a challenge to a person with CVD.

Figure 3. Refer to the metadata in the Markups List to make meaningful comparisons between markups. In this example, we’re prioritizing a markup’s status over its color.

Colors as a visual aid

In Revu, colors are often used to indicate which markups are closed and which are still open. Depending on how your preferences are set in Revu, a markup with a Closed status may turn green and a markup with an Open status may turn red (see Figure 3). It may be tempting to take a quick glance at the colors of markups to determine what still needs attention. But keep in mind that a person with CVD may focus their edits on metadata and, in some instances, can’t confirm that a markup’s color is updated or correct.

Whenever possible, confirm the status of a markup through its metadata in the Markups List as shown above in Figure 3. You can also use the Filter tool in the Markups List to quickly sort and find the information you need.

Learn to use the Filters List to review your Markups.

Using Detail view in the Tool Chest

If you have several similar markups saved to your Tool Chest that have subtle but important differences, it can be hard to tell them apart. This is especially true if the markups have two or more colors affected by a CVD palette, such as red and green.

Figure 4. The Tool Chest in Detail view.

To make meaningful comparisons between such markups, you can use Detail view in the Tool Chest, which displays metadata such as Subject, Comment, and Label. By adding meaningful information to your markups, you can help people find what they’re looking for and reduce mistakes.

To switch between Symbol and Detail view in your tool chest, go to Settings and select Symbol or Detail.

Tool Chest in Detail view in Revu 20
Figure 5. Switch between Symbol and Detail view in the Tool Chest.

While in Detail view, you can edit metadata by double-clicking on a row in the Comments column. Enter your changes and click outside of the text box when finished.

Choose colors and patterns carefully

As a best practice, try to avoid using two or more CVD colors together, such as red and green. We understand that the colors you use in your workflows may have been chosen for you by your organization. In situations when combining such colors cannot be avoided, there are a few things you can do to help improve their readability.

Personalization themes in Windows can alter the appearance of colors on your screen.

Select high-contrast colors

When using colors that are affected by any type of CVD, select a high-contrast difference between them (such as light green and dark green). By leveraging light and dark colors, markups and text can be easier to distinguish by a person who has CVD.

High-contrast colors can be especially helpful when using features like Overlay Pages , which defaults to red and green layers. The default colors can be changed while the overlay is being created. But once the overlay is created and shared with others, the colors can’t be changed anymore. Alternately, you can provide the original documents from the overlay so your colleague can select layer colors that are visible to them.

Learn how to customize default overlay settings.

Create your own CVD-friendly color palette in Revu

Reach out to your organization to see if they already have inclusive color palette guidelines. If they don’t, it’s easy to create your own custom color palettes in Revu. You can search the web for inclusive color palettes that are vetted by people who have CVD. In many cases, these palettes will include hexadecimal color codes (also known as hex codes) so they can be replicated in programs like Revu.

create color palette in Revu 20
Figure 6. Create your own CVD-friendly color palette in Revu by using hex codes.
Create a custom palette with hex codes

Once you’ve found the hex codes for an inclusive color palette, here’s how you can recreate the colors in Revu.

  1. Select a markup that can be customized for color, such as the Highlighter  (H) tool.
  2. Go to Line Color in the properties toolbar, and select the down arrow to see advanced preferences.
  3. Paste a hex code into the textbook with the number (#) sign.
  4. Select Add .

The color will appear in your Revu color palette and can be applied to other markups.

Create a custom palette with the Eyedropper tool

Alternatively, you can copy an image of a color palette and paste it into Revu. Then, use the Eyedropper tool to recreate the colors.

  1. Paste an image into a PDF in Revu.
  2. Select a markup that can be customized for color, such as the Highlighter (H) tool.
  3. Select the Eyedropper tool.
  4. On the image, click on the color you’d like to replicate.

The color will appear in your Revu color palette and can be applied to other markups.

Learn how to change the color of multiple markups at once.

Avoid using fill for textboxes, or use a neutral color

Using a fill color on a text-based markup like Cloud+ can separate it from the drawing and make it easier to read. But if the text and fill colors are very similar in shade, it can be difficult for a person with CVD to tell them apart. 

If you must use fill colors on your markups, consider using a neutral color like white or select high-contrast colors as mentioned earlier in the article.

Learn more about CVD

Colour Blind Awareness
Chromatic Vision Simulator
Use color filters in Windows 10

When collaborating in Revu, it’s important to consider that other people may see colors differently than you. We’ve compiled a list of tips for collaborating with people who have color vision deficiency, which can be adapted into your workflows.

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