Developer's Blog

The human eyes from a design perspective

How beautiful something seems in your eyes is definately something to consider when designing.
However, designs that do not provide us with the required information not only makes it difficult to use, but also drastically reduces its original worth.
When deciding what colour would be most appropriate for a design, in addition to coloring, there are also many other points to consider such as the user’s visual ability and colour-viewing limitations, illnesses, and the surrounding environment.
The perceived background is not the same for everybody, but is perceived differently from person to person.
So today, I would like to write a little bit about the human eye.

2 Antennas

There are two kinds of cells with light receptors called cone cells and rod cells in the human eye. Cone cells operate under bright conditions, responding to red(R:Long wavelength), green(G:Medium wavelength)and blue(B:Short wavelength) wavelengths.
Rod cells operate under dark conditions, responding to the amount of light available. In other words, just remember that cone cells detect colour, and rod cells detect light. Humans utilize these 2 cells to detect colours and shapes.

Perception in the dark

By the way, have you ever felt that you can distinguish shapes but can’t distinguish colours in the dark? I mentioned in the previous paragraph that cone cells respond to colour, but their functionality decreases under dark conditions. In its replacement, rod cells come to the rescue.
Even though it becomes difficult to distinguish colours, you are still able to distinguish tones.

When using mobile devices, there are often times when you go outside at night.
Don’t you think it would be helpful if what you are viewing is distinguished by tone in addition to colour?

By the way, the perception of red by cone cells drops the most under dark conditions. Because the responsiveness to blue and green in the dark does not drop much compared with red,  blue and green are much easier to see at night.
This is the reason why road signs are often green or blue.

Left: Blue and red under light conditions
Right: Blue and red under dark conditions

Visual handicaps due to lack of cone cells

There are some people in the world who lack cone cells from birth.
There are particular many people who find it difficult to distinguish red and green colours called red–green color blindness.
It is found at an overwhelmingly high rate in males, with 1 in 22 in Japan being affected. 1 in 500 females are also affected.
When you view this in figures you probably are amazed at just how many are affected. There are also other colour perception defects so it is important to be careful in the use of colours.

As a fail-proof plan, I suggest using meaningful text and symbols in addition to using varying colours and light.

Eye adaption

There are various kinds of light sources used around us such as the sun, fluorescent lights, and incandescent lights.
Have you ever felt that your photo has come out more reddish than it seemed when taking photos next to warm-coloured lights?
This occurs because using our experience and knowledge, we compare the colours of the object and its surroundings, and then specify the light source and change the way we perceive what we are looking at, creating this difference between what we see and what is actually taken.
Human eyes are truly amazing.

Luckily, smartphones being used in a variety of different situations have no trouble detecting white no matter what the light source is.
So, that is what I wanted to share with you. I hope it will help you in your designing life.


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