Besides can't people read anymore? It doesn't matter if a button has colour, just READ what's on the damn thing!
Dear anon coward,
This reminds me of school. When I refused to play cricket, on the grounds that I can't see the ball. The teacher's response was the familliar one where he thought I should just try harder, he suggested I be the umpire instead... I mean, I know people complain that the referee is blind all the time, but it's probably not such a great idea to actually try it! Tell me, do you instruct people in wheelchairs to stop being so lazy and get up and walk as well?
Do you really find it so hard to understand that not everybody has equal ablities? God knows why. Enough has been said about it over the years - but then a lot of stuff gets talked about, and we can't know everything. Society is a compromise between a set of different interests, where we hopefully try to make things work well for as many people as possible. We probably shouldn't tear up the Tower of London to allow wheelchair access - though some parts of it could easily be made more accessible with no damage to a historic monument (know this from taking a pushchair round it a few years ago). Public buildings have less excuse - unless they too are of monuments that are hard to modify. However the cost to websites to make them clear and readable, is zero. Or negligable, it probably does take some time to think about, seeing as most of the people commissioning and designing them probably have normal vision.
In fact the majority on this website is also B/W except for the red banner at the top and the photo's. Double standards anyone?
Oddly enough, many users complained about various site re-designs at the time. And to be fair to them, El Reg actually has sought feedback after many of its design changes, and has subsequently made tweaks after users complained.
There is, sadly, a trend in modern web / UI design away from clarity of purpose, and towards some aesthetic known only to the themselves. Seemingly a bit like the way a school of architects decided that their buildings should be aggressively ugly - and the more people complained about their hideous creations, the more sniffy they became about these revolting peasants.
Apparently modern designs should be flat and without seeming depth, with vast white, empty spaces. Minimalism is king. Colours should be muted and high contrast often avoided - clear visual cues such as borders should be got rid of, or if forced to have them they should be the palest of greys, so as not to offend the artistic eye of the creator. Buttons are also bad! Too high contrast, too clear, too functional? Heaven alone knows. But clickable text is fine.
I had to pay Mum's Congestion Charge for her the other day, because the TFL site designers thougth that a tiny text link on the far right of the page was superior to a nice button labelled PAY THE CONGESTION CHARGE in the middle of the relevant page. Fuck knows why!
When I lay out data on a spreadsheet I consider the two obvious options. I can use lines and borders to denote the different bits of information, and their interrelationships, or I can use colour. Sometimes a mixture of both is even clearer, because too many line-defined borders can be as confusing as too few. In my case I'm seeking maximum clarity for minimum effort from the reader. But I accept that I have all the artistic talent of a cluster of colourblind hedgehogs, in a bag. However if making a website clear and easy to use someone offends the artistic integrity of a web designer, might I respectfully suggest that they seek other employment. Go the whole hog and become an artist perhaps? But if they wish to continue with their job of providing information in as clear and visually pleasing a manner as posible, then might I suggest they use a combination of colour and line to group the infromation they are displaying and sufficient contrast to make the site usable for the people struggling to parse it.
It's surely not too much to ask?