Date of Award

Spring 2012

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Jon French, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

John Wise, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

David Cameron, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate human color vision discriminability within individuals that have color normal vision and those that have color deficient vision. Combinations of 15 colors were used from a list of colors recommended for computer displays in Air Traffic Control settings, a population with some mildly color vision deficient individuals. After a match to sample test was designed to assess the limits of human color vision discrimination based on color saturation and hue, standard color diagnostic tests were used to categorize college students as having normal or deficient color vision. The results argue that color saturation and hue impact human ability to discriminate colors, particularly as the delta E is small. This evidence also indicates that the effect that hue and saturation have on discriminability is not predicted by standard color vision assessment tests. Our results show that there is no difference in discriminability based on hue or saturation of both color normal and color deficient individuals, but for one exception. The delta e for black was significantly higher than all other colors. This was true for both color normal and color deficient individuals. From this information, it can be determined that the tolerance threshold for black should be dE(00) = 36.9 and the tolerance for all other colors to be dE(00) =9.2 for display on LCD displays. These results will have value for any computer display of critical information in which color discrimination is important for complete comprehension. The large number of individuals with color vision problems also makes these results a useful guide to color coding of information on web page design.