Yesterday I fired up my Oculus Quest for the first time. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the device. The tracking is great, the sound is surprisingly good, and I can play VR chat from my uber-comfy wingback chair.
However, there is one feature that I do not have access to: the power status LED on the outside of the device.
So this light has modes related to battery:
- Red = Low battery
- Yellow/Amber = Charging
- Green = Battery Full
As someone with deuteranopia, I cannot tell what colour that LED is. Red, Yellow and Green LEDs all look exactly the same to me. If they were next to each other, I might be able to distinguish them, but not on their own. I had to ask my housemate to come downstairs and tell me what colour the light was. He replied “orangey-amber”, I then had to check with him which of the colours in the app was “orangey-amber” to know what this then meant.
There were two inaccessible parts to the message that was being communicated to me:
- The message details (LED colour)
- The message decoder (app colours)
Both of these would need solving for me to use this feature independently. Maybe if there were separate lights with embossed status icons next to them, or if the lights were shaped. You could even use the same shape language that is used in the Oculus Quest software:
- Filled battery icon = Battery is full
- Battery icon with lightning symbol = Battery is charging
- Battery icon with exclamation mark = Battery is low
The Oculus Quest is just one example of a device communicating purely with LED colour, but it’s the most current example for me. I hope this helps people understand how this method of communication can be inaccessible to colour-blind users, and inspires some ideas for future improvement.
Right, I’m off to binge Beat Saber…
Images processed using the Coblis Colour Blindness Simulator