Sin #4: Using Poorly Contrasted Colour Schemes

Glenda Watson Hyatt as a devil

Blogs entails countless hours of reading on the screen. Colour schemes not enhanced for readability makes that task more difficult, more tiresome.

Why are Poorly Contrasted Colour Schemes an Accessibility Sin?

According to the University of Washington’s Department of Ophthalmology, 2.8 million Americans have colour blindness, which can express itself in many variations and degrees of severity. Colour perception problems are important considerations when choosing colour schemes for your blog to ensure your readers – particularly individuals who are colour blind or have low vision, as well as those of us with aging eyes – can read the content and participate in your blog community.

How to Absolve this Sin?

Enhance readability by ensuring sufficient contrast between text and background colours. To test the contrast between colours, use the Colour Contrast Analyzer,  my favourite accessibility testing tool.

Be sure to test the colour contrast of various elements that require reading on your blog; for example:

  • the navigation bar,
  • the post title,
  • the post credits, 
  • the post content,
  • the comments section, 
  • the footer,
  • the sidebar,
  • etc.

Change the colour, as needed, in your blog theme to ensure sufficient colour contrast to enhance your blog’s readability.

Have questions? Ask in the comment section below.

For more tips and tricks when using colour on your blog, check out the Blog Accessibility Mastermind.

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6 Responses to Sin #4: Using Poorly Contrasted Colour Schemes
  1. Barbara
    January 17, 2011 | 7:54 pm

    Poor color contrast is definitely a sin in my book!

    Wondering – what about the sin of posting a Halloween photo in a January post? Just asking.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glenda Watson Hyatt . Glenda Watson Hyatt said: Blog Accessibility Sin #4: Using Poorly Contrasted Colour Schemes http://bit.ly/hTVyOq How does your blog fare? [...]

  3. Glenda
    Twitter:
    January 17, 2011 | 10:45 pm

    Barbara, yes, poor colour contrast trips up many people – disabled or not.
    As for the photo, who says it is Halloween? ;)

  4. Barbara
    January 18, 2011 | 7:52 pm

    As an afterthought – I realized a devilish personage represents the ‘sins’.

  5. Richard
    Twitter:
    January 24, 2011 | 6:15 am

    It is also important to check colour contrast of text within images, regardless of whether they have ALT text or not. WCAG 2.0 allows an exception for this requirement for what it calls logotypes – in other words you don’t have to change your existing logo or exclude use of someone else’s logo just because it would fail the colour contrast test. However, if you are creating a logo or refreshing one it is always good practice to make sure it can pass the test.

    • Glenda
      Twitter:
      January 24, 2011 | 1:59 pm

      Yes, good point, Richard. Thank you. Alt text doesn’t really help individuals with sight impairments not requiring screen readers; good colour contrast can.

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