Accessible Color

What is color contrast?

In keeping with the eclipse theme of this week, I thought I would highlight yesterday’s blog by Accessibility Partners: Don’t Get Eclipsed by Color Contrast.

Color is important, but don’t rely on color alone to convey content. Use color plus another form of communication if needed. Textured and/or colored backgrounds are generally difficult to deal with, so avoid using those. Remember that people with visual impairments, including color blindness, will likely be unable to distinguish color differences. Likewise, someone may be printing a black and white (or grayscale) copy of the document or have a screen that doesn’t show colors properly.

When adding color, also remember the importance of contrast. (Technically, it’s called “luminance contrast.”) Some users (such as some with low vision) need high contrast. However, others (such as some with reading disabilities) have trouble with the bright colors of high contrast (high luminance), so what they actually need is low luminance. There are a variety of color contrast checkers available, and use common sense – be sure you can easily read your own web page, document, etc.!

Color contrast checkers:

Want to adjust settings on your PC for yourself?

If you’ve moved to Windows 10, you’ll notice that some built-in accessibility features have slightly changed locations.

In Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Ease of Access. You’ll find options for

  • Narrator
  • Magnifier
  • High Contrast
  • Closed Captions
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Speech Recognition

You may also access these by going to the Control Panel > Ease of Access. Here you may: Let Windows suggest settings or Optimize visual display.

Microsoft provides guidance for these features in their accessibility guides for vision, hearing, physical and cognitive differences.

To adjust your visual display (colors and high contrast) until you decide to change the settings:

  1. Right click anywhere on the desktop.
  2. Choose Personalize > Colors > High contrast settings (You have the opportunity to choose a high contrast theme here. You may need to restart the computer for the change to take place.)

If you’d prefer to try a quick/temporary adjustment for high contrast:

Left ALT + Left SHIFT + PRINTSCREEN; Repeat to return to regular setting


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