Are you making this accessibility mistake on your website?

by Maia Miller

Web accessibility is critical for providing users with a robust, complete and useable web experience. Yet according to an accessibility evaluation of 1 million homepages conducted by the WebAIM Million Project, 97.4% of homepages had detected accessibility failures!

Is your organisation’s homepage one of those 974,000 inaccessible sites?

According to the WebAIM Million Project, most conformance failures fall into just a few categories. The most common WCAG failure? Low contrast text.

This means that the colour of a given piece of text on a website, compared to the background it’s against, doesn’t have a high enough contrast level for people with weak vision to see. This can impact all types of users, too – when we’re outside looking at our phones in the sun, it’s useful to increase the brightness on our phones because it raises the contrast of what’s on screen. With insufficient contrast, it can make it difficult or impossible for some users to see text on the screen.

While this is a pervasive problem, it’s not a hard one to solve. There are lots of free and simple tools out there that allow you to test colour contrast. Just search for “colour contrast checker” and pick the one you like best.

A laptop on a desk in front of a white brick wall with a coffee cup next to it, showing the WebAIM colour contrast checker tool.

Our personal favourite is WebAIM’s colour contrast checker: it tells us which WCAG level and criteria pass or fail and has a slider feature to allow us to adjust the colour until we’ve reached compliant contrast levels.

The aim is to hit contrast of at least 3:1 for large text and 4.5:1 for regular text.

Of course, it’s becomes harder to make changes to colours once a design is finalised, so be sure to consider colour contrast as early as possible in your project.

Go ahead and test the colours of a recent or current project of yours. If it doesn’t pass colour contrast, suggest some changes to your team so you can be one of the million homepages on the right side of accessibility!

Join our free webinar on Wednesday 13th April at 11am, Web Accessibility for UI Designers. This one hour webinar will give you an introduction to web accessibility from the perspective of UI design. We’ll cover the New Zealand standard for web accessibility (WCAG) and explore some of the top things you can do right now to make your designs more accessible. Register for free here: Webinar: Web Accessibility for UI Designers