WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Color contrast in links -- is it important?


From: Moore, Michael
Date: Apr 20, 2007 11:20AM

Question for the day: Color contrast in links -- is it important?

Now before everyone jumps on the bandwagon and tells me why contrast is
important, does anyone really have problems with the color contrast of
links? Remember there are four states of a link and if it matters, then
each link has to be evaluated for contrast in each state (link, visited,
active, hover).


Well yes of course color and contrast are as important for links as it
is for other text on the page. A recent real world example of this
failure that I can think of is a occurred at a major university here,
where they chose to have the link color match the school colors.
Unfortunately this color did not provide sufficient contrast for some
color blind users to be able to distinguish links from the rest of the
content on the page. They have since mitigated the problem by using a
heavier font-face and darkening the color somewhat.

I would disagree that contrast matters too much for all of the states
1. link definitely
2. visited yes, otherwise the links will disappear for some
3. active, probably not - this is a very temporary state when
the user is actually activating the link if they are doing this they
have already found it.
4. hover - probably, but not quite as critical as the link or
visited states.

In addition the focus state, (not recognized by all browsers but hacks
do exist to get this to work) should have the same effect as the hover
state. This way keyboard users get the same benefit as those using a

That's my 2 cents anyway.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Specialist
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)