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Accessible user interfaces for space safety ops (I)

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After months of working outside UX/UI at Sybilla, and doing more project management and telescope deployments, I found myself navigating back to Smashing Magazine, a great resource which helped me years ago in my journey of a frontend/web developer.

At the company, one of my key responsibilities and activities was frontend development of our AstroDrive.IO platform (which, for now is being vastly rebuilded and it will take months to finish that). For that, one of my initial choices for the color scheme showing the observatory telemetry status, namely – whether the system was ready for observations and/or conducting them – was ditching out the green color, and using blue instead. Funny thing: the reasoning behind that was the shade of green versus shade of blue, with the latter better looking to me (and trust me, I have an eye). It was years later that I found this was actually a very good choice from the accessibility point of view: red, for telling operators that the system is not ready for whatever reasons, and blue – that it is ready for work.

Obviously, the color is one thing, and one cannot forget about a label and an icon. But let me make this post a short introduction to the topic, and bookmark the following:

While we started to use Grafana some time ago, the patterns which I proposed initially stay in line: we still use red-blue color scheme including so called can/cannot-observe label and I would like to explore this topic further. Maybe even I should write a book about it.