Google has launched a new Chrome tool that allows developers to mimic visual impairments like color blindness to help them fix accessibility issues on their sites.
Developers can use this feature by launching Google Chrome and heading to the browser’s developer tools. There’s a new section titled “emulate vision deficiencies,” which features a drop-down menu of vision limitations. Selecting one, such as tritanopia (a condition where a person cannot distinguish the colors blue and yellow), would allow developers to mimic the condition, changing the colors of their site so they can see if it’s difficult to read without those specific colors.
Google’s new developer tools follow the release of Firefox’s visual disability dev tools. The inclusion of these dev tools in both browsers is important, as both web browsers display sites differently. About 300 million people around the world, or 8 percent of all men and 0.5 percent of all women, are impacted by color blindness, according to Colour Blind Awareness.
While these dev tools are helpful, the way they imitate visual conditions is not fully accurate, as Mozilla and accessibility expert Ian Hamilton point out. However, these tools still provide developers with a sense of how their websites look to users with visual impairments. The tool is available in Chrome 82, which is currently in an early beta.