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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

Chapter 8 - Table Design gives all sorts of useful techniques to make table data more easily readable or scannable. One technique--fill color in alternating rows--is recommended in wide tables to aid scanning across long rows of data.

I have a colleague with muscle-imbalanced eyes who says that fill color isn't just helpful in wide tables, but in all tables four rows or larger. She says users with low vision will struggle to read the table if the fill color isn't there (among other things like large text, proper alignment of numbers, etc.).

I would think that it would depend on the table. I wouldn't think a two column table with 10 rows and sufficient white space would need a fill color, but add another column or two, and yeah--you'd probably need a fill color.

Two questions: 1) Do you agree with my colleague? and 2) How did low-vision readers factor into the research you did for SMtN?

Thanks in advance for your answer...this book has been tremendously enlightening for me already.


Posts: 802
Reply with quote  #2 

Thanks for pointing out that exceptions to the general practices that I recommend in Show Me the Numbers exist, especially when the needs of vision-impaired readers are taken into account. I address the most common problems, such as colorblindness, but not those that are less common, however critical they might be to the people who experience them. Many other exceptions exist as well in the real world when you consider the needs of the entire population. Unfortunately, in a book like Show Me the Numbers, not all circumstances can be addressed without turning the book into an encyclopedia, rather than a simple and practical guide.

Stephen Few

Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
I am legally blind in both eyes, meaning my vision is 20/100 in both eyes and I can tell you from experience the easier tables for me to read are the ones that have well-defined rows, whether it be with grid lines or row highlighting.
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