The increased use of color displays in aircraft crewstations carries with it distinct advantages and disadvantages. Monochromatic displays with resolution, luminance, and contrast levels exceeding most color systems required less thought and analysis on the part of the display engineer to yield acceptable display formats. The capability for extensive color coding provides an opportunity for better crew performance if color is used selectively and intelligently. Its misuse, however, can degrade performance over the simpler monochromatic display.
This paper discusses the trade-offs inherent in color display systems and outlines steps the engineer should take to ensure the display matches the major visual requirements of the crew. It also touches on a performance-based color metric system that can be used for both display characterization and color selection. The purpose is to introduce the engineer to the basic issues that must be considered when color displays are integrated into the crewstation design.