To establish an instant connection with the website and its users, colour is a potent weapon. A pleasant design may help create a positive overall impression. It may help draw attention to the crucial components on the page.
Most importantly, it may establish the atmosphere, distinguishing between cheerful and sociable and sober and stylish.
But when developers neglect to take into consideration the many ways in which consumers perceive color, what was once a useful tool may quickly become a challenge.
This is why it’s crucial to consider color accessibility when designing a website. Making certain colors function to their full potential—improving rather than detracting from the online surfing experience—is the essence of accessibility in website color.
To do this, we’ll explore all the factors to take into account while selecting website colors that adhere to accessibility guidelines.
A Succinct Explanation of Website Accessibility
The process of creating a website that functions for users of different abilities is known as website accessibility.
A designer will decide which conditions to concentrate on and develop solutions among the several types of disabilities, such as visual, auditory, and mobility impairments.
Providing alternate text for photos, making keyboard navigation simple are some examples of web accessibility features.
Although the emphasis of this post will be on colour accessibility, it is important to consider accessibility in its entirety.
In many nations, inaccessible websites is a discrimination. For instance, in the U.S. the Americans with Disabilities Act protects web accessibility. According to the ADA, users have the legal right to sue businesses that fail to make their websites accessible.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the W3C provide developers and designers with precise benchmarks to work toward in terms of accessibility.
This post will use the WCAG as a reference since it provides well-accepted standards.
Color-related WCAG guidelines mostly pertain to visual impairments. This emphasizes contrast, making it easy to see the text apart from the backdrop. The rules also pay close attention to the use of colour as a visual indicator.
Common Disabilities That Are Affected by Color
According to the WHO, at least 1 billion people live with some form of disability. There is a range of disability, many impairments may be situational or transient.
For instance, the glare from the sun will damage the vision of someone using a computer outside in bright sunshine.
Making websites accessible is not just morally right, it makes sense. Let’s discuss some typical color perceptions keeping different disabilities in mind.
The term “color blindness” might be misleading since it does not always imply that the affected individual is color-blind.
The two impairments we’ll examine here are dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In these situations, a rainbow of colors might function as a diversion. However, when used correctly, color can be a powerful tool for directing attention.
Why Is Color Contrast Important to Persons with Disabilities?
Color contrast is important for helping website users with visual impairments differentiate between your content and the site’s backdrop.
Checking the color contrast on your website proactively can save you against demand letters, expensive litigation, and reputational harm.
An all-purpose tool, a color contrast checker may be used to examine slideshows, infographics, web pages, and more. Any web designer or company owner must have it.
You are improving the user experience for all visitors, including those who have visual impairments, by using proper color contrasts.
Steps To Follow for Color Accessibility Testing
- Learn about hex codes to make choosing and testing colors simpler. Colors are represented by hex codes, which are six-character codes that start with a hash. They vary from black (#000000) to white (#FFFFFF).
- After choosing the color now it’s time to calculate the contrast ratio for the chosen colors. Test each hue in your palette individually against the backdrop color of your website.
- After evaluating the complete colour scheme, you may suggest additional hues to achieve the minimum contrast ratio. The most straightforward method is to raise the text colour’s opacity until it reaches the contrast ratio.
How A Website Uses Color?
Color is an effective tool for visual communication and is a fundamental component of design. Because of how handy it is, we often utilize it without consciously realizing how it functions.
Let’s study the typical functions the color provides on a website in order to reevaluate colors used for accessibility. In general, the purpose of color is to describe, focus, and provide feedback.
A particular color palette is crucial to a company’s visual identity. Consider Twitter’s blue or Netflix’s crimson. To put it another way, in this instance, color serves as a visual shorthand for a company name.
It can be used to emphasize the main points on a page and establish hierarchy, giving readers visual cues to help them focus their gaze.
Use colors to indicate distinct topics on a web page or indicate a form field element.
The most typical colors for this are red and green—a green checkmark when a user checks a box or a red “X” when a user clicks on something they are unable to see.
Color may be used to distinguish between interactive text and active text. The fact that hyperlink text is often blue in color serves as the most prevalent example.
Guidelines for Creating Color Palettes for Accessible Websites
Without further ado, let’s discuss how you may use color schemes on a website design to apply accessibility principles.
The Fundamentals of Contrast
Colors are actually all about contrast, if you think about it. There wouldn’t be much to see if everything was the same shade. Making things stand out on the screen is color’s most fundamental function in web design; the challenge is to what extent and concerning what other aspects.
Designers visually convey contrasts between design items using contrast. It is quantifiable on a scale of high to low.
Text-to-background contrast ratios are recommended by WCAG. These may change depending on the text’s size, as well as how stringent of a standard you wish to follow.
According to the WCAG, the ratio is graded on a scale of AA (minimum accessibility compliance) to AAA (maximum accessibility compliance).
Level AA contrast – 4.5:1 for text smaller 18pt and 3:1 for text larger than 18pt; Level AAA contrast – 7:1 for text smaller than 18pt and 4.5:1 for text larger than 18pt.
Using one of the many available online contrast checkers is the simplest approach to determine if a color scheme adheres to this ratio. Popular ones include Stark and Adobe Color Contrast.
Make a Color Scheme for Your Website That Is Available in Advance
The colors of a website must complement one another since they do not exist in a vacuum. To ensure that the colors are harmonious and yet meet the WCAG guidelines for contrast. It is crucial to lay out an accessible color scheme in advance.
Web designers frequently have to take into account a variety of color scenarios in addition to the pre-established brand colors. These colors are part of a visual identity, such as an accent color (often used for buttons), feedback colors to indicate a user is online, etc.
Additionally, they must choose particular neutral colors that will often be utilized for backgrounds, body content, and headers typically on the white, grey, and black color scale.
Make your website and content readable for people with visual impairments by using high-contrast colors and labels.
WCAG 2.1 in order to fully comprehend accessibility rules. While following these rules may seem difficult at first, there are a ton of tools available to assist you. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask designers or developers for assistance.