Color is an important feature in anything that we create. The right colors can make a person feel emotions more strongly, and some colors, in particular, are good at drawing interest and sending messages. For instance, the color yellow has been observed to bring out feelings of joy and optimism, while using dark blue connotes power and means it’s time to get more serious.
Color is just as essential when it comes to designing accessibility. Based on numbers by the World Health Organization, there are at least 2.2 billion people worldwide suffering from a visual impairment. That steep number defines how many people have trouble interacting with website elements that do not use inclusive practices, such as utilizing accessible color schemes and alternative navigation options using audio material. As such, it is important to understand how a website should be designed so that everyone who visits it won’t miss out on any functionalities or information being presented.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created to provide all organizations, whether private or government-backed, with a specific set of accessibility standards that their web designers can follow in building and developing a website. Part of these guidelines includes using accessible color schemes so that the website can reach a wider audience. While web designers are allowed to develop their own color schemes, there are many color tools available online to make this task easier for businesses.
What Exactly Does Accessibility Mean?
Before you can build a website that provides complete accessibility for everyone, you first need to understand the exact concept of accessibility. There are several accessibility checks and standards concerning website design, but the overall goal remains the same: to create a website design that any user, regardless of disability, can operate and understand with comfort and ease.
Accessibility covers many features of a website, including but not limited to audio cues, navigation strategies, forms and feedback materials, visual elements, text properties, and color. Color is especially important because color blindness is one of the top visual impairments that cause people to have difficulty when interacting with a website.
According to Colour Blind Awareness, a form of color vision deficiency is present in one in every twelve men and one in every 200 women worldwide. That’s a significant ratio of the internet audience that is unable to maximize traditional color schemes, so it’s important to make sure that you follow WCAG standards in creating graphics and other visual images for your website.
Best Practices in Creating Color Accessibility for a Website
When talking about color and accessibility, the most common concern is contrast. The contrast of colors used in the foreground and background of the website, the contrast of colors for text scripts (including font and font size), and the contrast of colors applied to all user interface elements are essential in developing a website that can pass the color standards set by the WCAG.
One of the things you need to remember when designing a website is that not everyone sees colors in the same way. Therefore, you should not use color as the only visual means of conveying information on your website. There should be other ways for the audience to indicate an action, distinguish a visual element from another, and respond to prompts on every website.
For instance, there should be sufficient contrast between the website’s background and foreground to create an easier separation for visually-impaired web users. The same contrast should apply to other visual elements for easier identification. When designing form labels, use colors that are easy to recognize. The same should also be done for error prompts and feedback links.
All interactive website elements and navigation tools should be identifiable even without color schemes. You shouldn’t rely on subtle color changes that occur when the user hovers on an element because not everyone will be able to tell the visual difference.
A Final Word on Using Color Tools to Improve Web Design Accessibility
Web design is the process of creating a website that can effortlessly communicate with online users by employing effective graphics and an easy-to-learn user interface. It’s already hard to create and develop a successful web design, and ensuring that it provides complete accessibility to all kinds of internet users makes the task doubly challenging.
Luckily for web designers, the innovations of technology have created several tools to make that task easier. There are color tools that can help you analyze your color preferences and use your choices to provide a color palette that passes the WCAG standards. You can also find a color tool that uses an algorithm to build accessible color ranges. All you’ll need to is choose the starting and ending colors, and the tool will be the one to set a color scheme that adheres to accessibility standards using your color preferences.
If you need assistance in creating a website that fully supports the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the WCAG, you can always reach out to Access-A-Pal. Access-A-Pal is expertly trained to make a website accessible not just for visually-impaired users, but for people with various disabilities as well.
Access-A-Pal uses advanced machine-learning and high-quality technology to ensure that your website receives 100% compliance from the WCAG while reaching the largest possible audience in the process. Contact us now so that we can help you improve your website and increase your accessibility.