Accessible Colors for Data Visualization


Accessible Colors for Data Visualization

Cisco Webex

Cisco believes in accessibility for all and strives to create the best possible experiences for everyone. Our Webex Control Hub and other administrator-based products show a lot of information through charts and other visual cues. Chart colors are informational; they’re visual cues to recognize data. However, not everyone sees colors—globally, nearly 300 million people are color blind.

Keeping that in mind, the design team defined accessible chart colors as the foundation of our design system, Momentum. We had two goals: maximize accessibility for color blind users and establish solid brand identity while being in line with Momentum’s visual aesthetic. We identified color accessibility through extensive user research.

We now have three sets of chart colors and implemented them in December 2020. These sets have a color differentiation success rate of 91.6-94.6% from color blind people. Based on the same tests, those numbers are 7-15% higher than other chart colors. Our color blind admin users now have a visual chart language. We’re proud to say our charts are inclusive for all of our diverse users.

Key Team Members

Mina Yoo, Design Manager, Webex Analytics Platform
Jeeyoung Jung, Lead Designer, Momentum design system

About the organization

Cisco helps seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the unconnected. An integral part of our DNA is creating long-lasting customer partnerships, working together to identify our customers' needs and provide solutions that fuel their success. We have preserved this keen focus on solving business challenges since our founding in 1984. Len Bosack and wife Sandy Lerner, both working for Stanford University, wanted to email each other from their respective offices, but technological shortcomings did not allow such communication. A technology had to be invented to deal with disparate local area protocols, and as a result of solving their challenge, the multiprotocol router was born.