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Forums » Suggestions & Development Discussion » Color buttons for Private Messages Please?

I would have to imagine this has been suggested a dozen or so times. Though I would really love to have a quick link to add colored bccode to our messages. I often use them to differentiate other people talking in a single post, making it easier to read, but it is a pain to type it in.

I think it would be a great QoL add, but it could also, along with a few other features maybe be something you can add for Epic members. Maybe just one more little perk?
Edit: Ignore this. I only half read the original message cause I'm half asleep.
Kim Site Admin

This has been suggested and I have always declined; I do not wish to encourage the use of colors in text messages because it has accessibility impacts.

Just as a for example, if you're a habitual dark mode user, you might find that yellow text looks great for you. For your RP partners who use the site's light mode or the default parchment background, it might be entirely unreadable. There are several other scenarios where changing text color can be a problem for the recipient of said text.

So, like... changing your text color is supported for those who absolutely want to do it, but I am actively not wanting to make it a one-click thing that might encourage more people to do it more often because it can decrease QOL for the audience.
TroyLocke Topic Starter

Might I humbly disagree with a few examples of why?

I totally AGREE with your sentiment and statement, as I have personally experienced that exact problem with the Light/Dark users. Though it was the simplest of fixes, of just asking my writing partner if they could choose a different or darker color that we could both easily see. Problem solved.

If we are speaking QoL then I don't see how forcing someone to type in, or paste it in, which 100% takes away time from writing, and can even distract and throw off writing.

As for a simple fix for this, if there was a link I imagine it would both have a few colors as base colors and then a place to put in the hex code/name of the color. Why don't we just make those base colors ones that are best suited for both Light/Dark backgrounds, so those are the first ones people are apt to use? Personally, that is what I always try to do anyways never knowing what background my partners might be using.

This all said I think it would be a huge QoL boon, and the fact it has been suggested many times says that many players would use it.

Perhaps it could be tested out on Groups first, since those all for more editing options to change the color for those that might need it? Or as I said an Epic bonus so perhaps not 100% of users will be using it at once and can see if it causes issues for some.
Changing text colour also can mess with screenreader users. Text in a different colour is shown separately so that, when navigating through text, well... the easiest comparison I can make is that it's like every differently-coloured section is on a separate line. Not horrible (though still a bit annoying) when it isn't used excessively but if, say, every word (or worse, every letter) is a different colour... Pain agony despair et cetera. Basically imagine hearing full sentences spoken to you letter-by-letter, or pausing after every single word. Not so bad if it's full sentences or paragraphs that are in one different colour, it'll just be read with awkward pauses.
Now, I'm not saying people make things really hard to read on purpose, or that you specifically (the OP) would change text colours for that reason. I think it's safe to say most people have no idea how this works and why it's so inconvenient for others, because why would they? However, having an easy quick button to make it possible WILL make it happen more often, and it'd be really neat if, instead... it happened less often.
So while I understand your reason for wanting this feature, I also understand why it should not be added and has been rejected in the past.
Hi there!
I'm in an online accessibility workgroup in my job so I know a little bit about this, and I have to say that Kim is 100% correct in her reasoning.
Even if you take away the light mode/dark mode aspect, using color alone to denote something is problematic for accessibility reasons, especially when it comes to people who are blind or have difficulty seeing and use a screenreader like SoupGremlin mentions, or for people who have colorblindness.

Here's a really useful article on the basics of it: https://tips.uark.edu/accessibility-color-issues/#:~:text=Color%20Blindness%2FColor%20Deficient%20Vision,item%20will%20not%20be%20legible.

When I am denoting a different character (an NPC usually) speaking, I generally use italics, bold, or underline, because it clearly changes from what I use when my character speaks, which is just plain text.

Hope all of this helps! :)
TroyLocke Topic Starter

So!? A different fix? What about an option that users could shut off color coding altogether?

If they already have an accessibility issue, wouldn't it be best if NO color showed up on profiles or anything? Or even if someone used a Hex code? If we are intended to make it more accessible as a whole I would imagine this would be the best solution. Allowing those with accessibility issues the ability to see it in what is best for them, and those without to still have the option to use colors that work best for them.

At the end of the day my initial solution still by all measures seems the best solution, people can just ask their partners not to use colors if it is an issue. We are supposed to be a community, which means talking to each other, if someone has an accessibility option, and I could do something to make it better in my writing for them I would want to do anything I can to make it easier for them. Be it color, lack thereof, or anything else.

So I suppose I am confused about why the option would be taken away from users that want to use it just because there MIGHT be an issue with some people, that could and in my mind and should reach out to their partners and explain. This is already a requirement for ALL sorts of things, from getting a plot running, to talking about limits and other things, why if colors, text, or font were an issue, wouldn't be treated as the same?
Kim Site Admin

I totally believe that it's working great for you and your partner in PMs! The trouble is that were I to add this feature, it would be for everyone, everywhere that text can be entered and edited. That means the bubbling cauldron of human interactions that is the forums.

Forum interactions are not one on one, and a request that makes sense for one person might not actually be the request someone else would make to have their needs accommodated. The best accommodation there is usually just to not use bbcode colors, which is why I don't want to "endorse" the use of colors by creating a feature for it. I already receive some grumbling when people do choose to use colors out in the wild, so I know this is not just an imaginary trade-off that might come into play. It's fairly rare and it already causes some problems. Those problems are almost always 100% non-malicious, and usually born out of just not knowing, but occasionally also just not caring because it works for "a majority"

Again, there are totally legitimate reasons for doing it, and ways to do it without it being a problem for anyone, and it seems like you've found one! Which is why the BBcode does exist and remains available.
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So I suppose I am confused about why the option would be taken away from users that want to use it just because there MIGHT be an issue with some people
Just to be clear, I'm not taking it away, it's already there -- you're using it. I'm just not making it faster and easier to do easily, many times, without thinking. If this dropdown appears, people are going to assume that it's there to be used and use it willy nilly. It will be an official endorsement of doing it when it is not in fact endorsed in most situations.
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If they already have an accessibility issue, wouldn't it be best if NO color showed up on profiles or anything? Or even if someone used a Hex code? If we are intended to make it more accessible as a whole I would imagine this would be the best solution.
Oh totally! The ability to override character styles is absolutely in the works! :) Possibly also the ability to override all text color in general, but that one is a lot trickier.
TroyLocke Topic Starter

So! I totally didn't think about the forums, and that bubbling cauldron as you put it. Yes, I can totally see that most people myself included on a public forum like that would NOT reach out to ask for color changes on a whim and just miss out instead.

Thank you very much for taking the time to clarify, I totally get it now where you are coming from.

Also +1 for the overriding styles option, for some reason I thought overriding color would be an easy one, but what do I know? (Not a thing about coding) Perhaps this can be revisited if that option ever comes to fruition, until then. Thanks for the clarification and all your hard work!

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