I completely agree with you. Full-disclosure: I am one of those people (deuteranopia, which is a red/green deficiency). For me, I find the new ones a lot easier to see the differences in the different directions, but obviously I can’t speak for everyone. In my opinion, I think the old graphs/compasses had too many “steps” in color (almost a full gradient all the way around) and I had to really stare at it to figure out what direction it was telling me.
Perhaps a run-through of the process for creating the new ones might help to see where I was going with them (maybe boring, maybe interesting – you be the judge)? Here goes nothing:
My primary concern was changing the color/direction as little as possible (trying to keep the pitchforks at bay) – both the old and the new had NE/Red, SE/Yellow, SW/Green, NW/Blue (and gradients in between those). If it were just me using it, I actually wouldn’t even bother with the color (maybe red for everything that has a north component, green for our ideal directions, and yellow for iffy/cross) as I think it would be much easier to read, but I know we all like high resolution in our weather readings. Even better (at least, to me), would be to include direction arrows along the graph lines so there’s absolutely no ambiguity about what direction it’s saying (that’s an issue because there would be way too many arrows packed in along those lines – would be impossible to read).
I decided to reduce the full-blown color gradient all the way around the compass down to 16 colors (1 for each primary/secondary compass direction). I thought the harder “steps” between directions would give greater clarity in reading the graphs (easier to tell which direction, since the colors would each be a bit more “different”). Sticking with the same theme as the old graphs (NE/Red, SW/Green, etc), I picked a bright red, blue, green, and yellow for the main directions (NE, SE, SW, NW) and then ran those colors through a tool to generate a gradient between each (that produced 3 “steps” between each main directional color). Same exact colors are used in the compasses and in the graphs (so that we’re using a consistent “language” everywhere on the site).
So the questions I’ve had in my head (maybe the same ones you’re considering now):
Do we just need to futz around with the color selections and make adjustments there (basically just picking slightly different colors to bump up the saturation/contrast)?
Are we going about it wrong and should we change it a bit more (perhaps going down to 8 compass directions / 8 colors; switching the primary colors/directions to N/E/S/W, so N is Red, S is green, etc and then generating the “steps” between those instead; switching to holfuy‘s model of green for good flyable direction, yellow for “good enough” and nothing/red for not flyable; or, something else entirely – maybe red for all of the north directions, and then blue/green/yellow for everything that has a south component)?