Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included).— Frank ⌁ (@FrankElavsky) January 18, 2021
(A thread on disability, race, and patriarchy in data visualization.)
In this Twitter thread (unrolled, archived), Frank Elavsky directs attention to a neglected aspect of common data viz accessibility discussions:
Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included).
While the debate about accessible data visualization hovers a lot around colour palettes (a disability disproportionally affecting white males, as the author highlights), he stresses how other functional disabilities do not get nearly enough attention: low vision, functional/motor impairments, cognitive disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders… (see the original thread for an extensive list).
This imbalance, he points out, has an equity component built right into it:
Black, disabled people in the south are ESPECIALLY (disproportionately) excluded from the design of equitable data systems! Include them!
If data is really so important, why is it only accessible for a select few?
Frank Elavsky further elaborates on this topic in a joint talk at the Outlier 2021 conference.