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The popular word game Wordle, includes a high contrast mode in the settings for "improved color vision". It turns the usual green and yellow color cues into more contrasting orange and blue.

It's great that this feature exists. However, based on a quick check using the Stark chrome extension to simulate different color-blindness types, it seems like this tends to invert the color meanings for anyone who can still see the colors at all - i.e. not those with full achromatopsia.

(Note: The context for those color associations that I'm interested in is common color associations in the United States about how correct something is - the location and context for how they're used in this game.)

Specifically:

  • One of the common associations for the color green is good/correct and it means that a letter is in the right spot in this game with normal colors, but it becomes orange in the high contrast mode which I understand would look yellowish to people who are colorblind (i.e. not clearly distinguishable, but on the red-green spectrum) or even red. It seems like that would more commonly signify caution or an error.
  • Yellow, which is commonly used as a cautionary color, means a letter is correct but in the wrong spot. This becomes blue in high contrast mode (which I understand would look bluish or on the green-blue spectrum to people with color blindness). In any case, it seems like the color would appear neutral or calming - maybe even greenish (as in correct), kind of the opposite meaning again.

Am I correct in thinking that it would have been nice if the creator of the game had simply switched the high contrast colors to better align the meanings of the colors with their in-game significance or am I missing something about why those colors might have been chosen?

(Of course, I don't want to take away from the fact that the game has an option to improve the colors. I appreciate that the creator of the game was thinking about that and took the time to consider how to make it more inclusive. I'm only asking to deepen my understanding of color blindness and related accessibility features.)

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I'm not sure I understand your question correctly, but I've the impression that you assume that people with color blindness see the same as people with "normal" vision. If this is the case, then people with color blindness cannot see those colors (hence "color blindness"). The concept of "green=good" or "red=bad" means nothing to people who cannot see these colors.

What's important is that they can see enough contrast between the colors. A person with protanopia, for example, can see this:

protanopia vision

while a person with deuteranopia sees the following:

deuteranopia vision

As you can see, both have sufficient contrast to understand the differences, and that's the key.

Let's now take a look at the "normal" version as seen by people with protanopia or deuteranopia:

Insert image description here

Enter image description here

Now you can see that the normal version has almost no contrast.

Also...

Error messages don't depend (only) on the color. For example, you mention orange as error color, but orange is known to attract attention, and is one of the most commonly used colors for CTAs and important messages. I guess you mean red. But even then, red doesn't mean anything on its own. As you've already noted, colorblind people can't see this color, but there are also cultural reasons: Most Asians assign the meaning of "happiness" to red, in stark contrast to the Western world!

In short...

I've heard of this game, but never seen it. Now that I see it, I think it's very good from an accessibility standpoint.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I've update my question to clarify the specific context I'm interested in and to show my current understanding of how people with color blindness see colors differently than those without. Would you mind editing your answer based on those updates? Jun 30 at 19:29

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