Supporting Vision Impairment and Color Vision Deficiency in Remote Patient Observation
At MedSitter we pride ourselves on deliberate, thoughtful, and innovative products and design decisions. We believe that communication leads to building companionship with our patients. And visual communication is tremendously more effective than audio alone. But not everyone sees the world the same. There are many different types of vision impairments, and MedSitter has thoughtfully considered the experiences of those individuals. Here is how we account for vision impairment and color vision deficiency within our product.
We were the first patient sitting product to introduce two-way video as well as two-way patient audio. And to this day we remain the only vendor with persistent two-way video. We’ve been our market’s leader in design philosophy since our inception. Even a quick glance at the look of the available sitting products will tell you that we stand out from the crowd. In a nutshell, persistent video means that video from the sitter is streamed to the cart in the patient room at all times. When a sitter wants to communicate with the patient we simply start showing the video; there is no need to “dial in” or “connect” to a patient cart. When an incident is in progress, seconds matter and the time it takes to dial into a video call with the patient on a competitor's solution may be the difference between avoiding an adverse incident and catching the tail end of it happening. Additionally, our sitters can see the video feeds from all the patients they are monitoring even while communicating with a patient - which isn’t true of all sitting products today. Communicating with a patient doesn’t open new tabs in a browser that effectively hide the sitter’s view of the other patients.
Building on this concept of the value of visual communication it is key that those performing the sitting are accounted for too. We - MedSitter, and the companies that deploy MedSitter, ask these users to sit at a station and observe patients for long periods of time. So, how do we keep these people, and their potential vission issues, in mind?
8% of men and 1% of women have color vision deficiency or an estimated 300 million people world-wide.
Color Vision Deficiency
You may notice that the backgrounds within our software are a darker color. While medical professionals and scientists are still working to study the full impact, effects, and benefits of dark mode themes, many users anecdotally provide feedback that lighter text on a dimmer background over longer durations of time provides a less straining experience. “...Science has shown that blue light can interfere with sleep cycles, meaning it can be difficult to get sufficient rest if you’re exposed to enough blue light...” Exposure to blue light has been suggested to cause symptoms of digital eye strain, including dry eyes, headaches and blurred vision — even though most studies do not support such notions. However, science has shown that blue light can interfere with sleep cycles, meaning it can be difficult to get sufficient rest if you’re exposed to enough blue light close to bedtime. By blending both scientific and user-specified feedback, we have implemented a darker-themed user interface and leverage lighter colors for accents, actionable events, and information.
Another key area of design for consideration when discussing vision is the contrast ratio of text. Color Contrast Ratio is typically defined as the difference between the color of the text or visual object, and the background upon which it rests. This is important both for user experience and compliance. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides guidance on acceptable contrast ratios. MedSitter’s color palette has been deliberately selected not only to meet the ADA contrast ratio requirements, but to enhance the overall user experience.
The contrast ratios aren’t the only important design consideration when it comes to the text and the visuals we place on the screen. We keep in mind the color, but also the text sizing, placement, spacing, and point of regard. Meeting contrast ratio requirements is one thing, but if we were to just smash a bunch of text onto the screen that is hard to follow, read, or understand what it is referencing might be worse. MedSitter is designed with the concept of the Interaction Zone and the Monitoring Zone with this purpose in mind. The monitoring zone allows the sitter to keep a visual on each patient, whereas the interaction zone provides the functionality to interact with a given patient. Most of the text, features, and information presented is “scoped” to the patient within the Interaction zone.
Another key aspect of text is when to use text or when to use iconography. We’ve again been deliberate in ensuring that we use text or icons when most appropriate.
There are many more aspects to enabling users with vision deficiencies to be highly successful within MedSitter. We recently published a white paper on the visual ergonomics of our design, which is definitely worth time to read. In addition, let’s take a look at what this all means for sitters / observers that have a color vision deficiency. Below are some screen renderings of the Pod View. We used the same screenshot and then processed it through a simulation tool to see how those with a specific color deficiency would see things. Our goal is that largely these screenshots would look as similar as possible; meaning that our design is effective for all users that provide patient safety observation. You may note that the bulk of difference between the three is less in the user interface and more in the coloration of the image/video feed itself.
These views are simulations of a Dichromatic view, but similar experiences hold true with Trichromacy as well.
“Normal or Standard Vision”
Protanopia (Red blind)
Tritanopia (blue blind)
There are many different types of vision impairments, and MedSitter has thoughtfully considered the experiences of those individuals with the MedSitter design—all to help the patient sitter/observer. vision impairment or color vision deficiency)
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