Color Is Based on Surrounding Color

“The redness isn’t a property of the apple. It’s a property of the apple in combination with a particular lighting that’s on it and a particular observer looking at it.”

via These X’s Are The Same Shade, So What Does That Say About Color? : Shots – Health News : NPR.

Next to typography, color is the most important part of the visual design of your website. Yet, color is also very misunderstood. Color more than any other part of web design, does not live in a bubble. Color is about how things relate to each other. Saying that #990000 is an easy color to read can change if your background is black, white, or pink

Ensuring that colors contrast correctly means both ensuring that there is enough luminance contrast, but also so that there is enough simultaneous contrast. And if that isn’t enough, we also need to remember to take into account the psychological effect of different colors and the cultural meanings that our color can have.

These four factors combine to make color selection a non-trivial problem.  What makes color an even harder problem is that we are only at the type of the iceberg for color perception.  What else effects color display? Our screens calibration. The tools we use to change how color display based on the time of day. The cones in our eyes. The lighting in the room.

Color is far from a simple problem. All these factors combine to show why we can’t rush color decisions. They need to be thought out and considered from many angles. As Josef Albers wrote in the seminal Interaction of Color, “In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.”

Accessibility Tunnel Vision

I need to see accessibility for what it is too. That means, like everything else on the Web, I need to embrace its fluidity. It can’t be perfect, but it can improve incrementally with each release. Better than before is always better than perfect.

via Accessibility Tunnel Vision


David is on a roll with his 30 day blogging challenge writing some great articles about Accessibility and other issues relevant to modern web developers. This quote really hit me and reminded me of the Akin’s thirty third law of spacecraft design: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”. Let’s keep working on better.

Review: Birth Junkies

I recently read Birth Junkies: Labor Support and Resistance in American Birth which is available free in pdf form. Going in, I knew very little about doulas or birthing support outside of the recent american tradition of hospital based OB/GYN doctors. That changed right away as I worked through this ~100 page anthropological investigation.

Much of what I discovered related to how the current title of doula is a recent invention and is one that describes a role that traditionally was filled by the elder woman in a community a birthing mother was a part of and that hospital and medical based births are a relatively recent concept. I also learned about challenges that doulas face in the current climate of medicated births and how they work to help birthing mothers.

After finishing this, I’m convinced that a doula is someone that every birthing mother should have.

Video Captioning

I’ve given a couple of talks this year that I’m hesitant to promote since they don’t have captions.  After a lot of thought, I’ve realized that the likelihood of me doing the captioning is low (low, low, low, low, low) so it makes sense to hire someone.  Anyone have experience hiring a captioner or a recommendation for one?

The three videos are a total of about 90 minutes and are my three most recent videos on

Bloggings effect on my site traffic

Last week I was at WordCamp San Francisco and the accompanying community summit and team work days. Despite my constant focus on WordPress, I didn’t publish anything here. In the week leading up to WordCamp, I published six blog posts about a large variety of areas from a technical tip to a book recommendation. The effect on my site’s traffic was obvious.

graph showing one week with half as much traffic as the week before

In raw numbers, I saw a drop in close to 50%. I think I learned an important SEO tip: Publishing content increases visitors.