Wednesday, August 3, 2005

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Design ramble: Menus

Spotted in the Sunday paper's magazine supplement: a short anecdote about a restaurant offering a menu on which the appetizers are printed in red and the entrees are printed in black, which posed a problem for the writer, who was colorblind. Happily, the restaurant had a special colorblind menu to offer as a replacement.

It's a solution that lets the restaurant keep its color-coded menu, but I would not be surprised if for this one person willing to speak up, there are several other people who weren't willing, whether they were embarrassed, frustrated, or just not up for the attention.

As usual, I don't have much of a point to make. It was just strange that I found myself surprisingly irritated by what was supposed to be a cute little story for the department page of cute stories from the city. Something struck a nerve. How accessible should menus be? They're essentially promotional collateral for restaurants, so natually they should be designed to fit the atmosphere and image. But what if those design choices lead to menus that can't be fully used by people with less than perfect vision?

Coincidentally, Digital Web's latest article is on color theory for color-blind web designers.

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