Color contrast and web design

Can web design and accessibility live together? Can they coexist? Only under certain conditions. The first condition concerns the choice of the color palette. Color contrast, that is, the contrast between foreground and background color must be accessible. For accessible, I mean that it must follow and fulfill all the W3C requirements that are clearly expressed in the Contrast Analyser tool. This is a no-no condition. For example, the following image shows a wrong color contrast.

In this case, white and orange cannot be used together. Period. But if you don't want to throw away your own design, there's a simple solution: provide an alternate design to be delivered to users with special accessibility needs (such as blind-color users or users with some other color impairment or even low-vision users). This solution is up to you: if your site must be accessible for whatever reason (e.g. legal, like Section 508), then you have to consider this solution. Otherwise, it's only a matter of personal choice.

2 thoughts on “Color contrast and web design”

  1. Good Choice of the subject is very different with comparing to the other blog article subjects.Information are suitable and explain very well point of view. Next time expect more from you best luck for the future.

  2. Web design and accessibility? Uneasy bedfellows unless the designer is modest and not intent on clowing off, and understands the needs of (1) the low visioned and (2) the blind. Those needs are not the same.

    The low Visioned need (1) word wrap to keep the copy on the screen whem they enlarge, and (2) their choice of font as set in their software for incoming text, so that they can have high contrast if they need it. These two accessibility adjustments are often disabled by the formatting designers use. Care must be taken to avoid it. For example the White House sends out emails in an elegant low contrast font and disables my settings for Arial Black that my eyes need. Enlarging only helps a little. govdelivery does the same for the emails it sends out for the VA and is sure that it is the fault of my software (Outlook Express) which displays National Georaphic's photo loaded eamails without any trouble. Reuters'link loaded emails are displayed perfectly.

    The blind need a layout that will not confuse their screen readers and I am not qualified to speak to that nor am I qualified to speak to the matter of color. However it is important to say that contrast sensitivity drops with age and elegant grays won't win friends in the low vision comunity. We need realy black blacks.


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