On Accessibility

Up to this point, I’ve always done motion retargetting in MotionBuilder. Just this week, I finally tried out Maya’s HumanIK tools. I really like a lot of the design work that has gone into them! Setting up a character and getting up and running was a snap. Graphical views, as well as type-in fields with autocompletion really made everything a pleasant experience. If you haven’t looked at Maya’s HumanIK tools before, it’s worth checking out two different views of the character definition controls:

Human IK GUIs in Autodesk Maya

Unfortunately, for a not insignificant portion of the population, the same GUI looks like this:

Human IK GUIs in Autodesk Maya

While much about this GUI looks really nice and is laid out well, those of you out there with colorblindness are seeing the same image twice, and are unfortunately missing some of the most important information these GUIs convey about the state of the character definition at a glance. It’s nice to have the detail text in the corner, but not really ideal.

It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in technical/architectural pedantry or in details of layout and workflow, so it’s important to also keep accessibility in mind when we design tools for others to use.

4 thoughts on “On Accessibility”

  1. Cool post, I had many discussions over the new animation layer feedback colors during alpha, among others things like constraint/expression/sdk info colors , but I wonder the number of 3d software users that have color blindness?

  2. I wonder if it’s higher among animators, too. I’ve known plenty of animators who basically animated because, well, they couldn’t paint textures with colorblindness 😉

  3. Brad: There’s actually a large number of colour blind people in the industry and it’s a difficult thing to design for as there are varying degrees of colour blindness (red/green, blue/yellow, partial vs full etc). Great post Adam 🙂

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