Accessible Colors and Contrast
When publishing accessible content online, it is important to consider how the colors and contrast between the text and background are presented. When you design your documents, presentations, and other content, consider how it will be consumed by students who are colorblind, or have visual impairments and use screen readers and screen magnifiers.
For persons that are colorblind or have a color vision deficiency, low vision, and other various visions impairments, colors and contrast can affect their ability to perceive the information in the way it was intended. Students that use screen magnifiers change their personal displays to enhance contrast and sizes of fonts and images, distorting your content while enhancing it to meet their individual needs. While, students that are colorblind may have trouble distinguishing red, green, or orange.
Screen readers do not read color or bold fonts and fail to communicate the emphasis the content creator is trying to convey. While you cannot know or control how your students perceive your content, you can follow these simple suggestions to provide and deliver equitable access.
- It is essential to provide enough color contrast between the text and background in your online content. Color deficiencies can affect the luminance of your presented content and can distort the message you are trying to convey.
- Screen readers do not recognize colors or bold fonts so it is important to remember to not use color as a distinguishing feature within text and content.
- Never use color alone to show emphasis. Color should never be the sole means of conveying information.
- Use color selectively. Avoid using the colors red, green, and orange to show emphasis along with these colors that color-blind students have difficulty seeing.
- Use color and images sparingly when they do not add value to your content to ensure maximum readability.
- Overuse of color can be confusing and distracting to students with Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, and other cognitive impairments.
- Use textures and patterns rather than colors in graphs and charts. All charts and graphs also require Alt text as well as a text description providing information depicted on the graph or chart.
- Use high contrast colors. Black text on a white background has the highest readability.
Checking for Accessibility
If you use color text, ensure sufficient contrast between text and background colors. Try this Color Contrast Checker to verify your selections.