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

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From: tedd
Date: Apr 20, 2007 11:30AM


At 11:48 AM -0500 4/20/07, Moore, Michael wrote:
>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).
>
>Tedd
>
>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
>though.
> 1. link definitely
> 2. visited yes, otherwise the links will disappear for some
>users
> 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
>mouse.
>
>That's my 2 cents anyway.
>
Mike Moore


Mike:

Thanks for your feedback -- I suspected it was, but wanted to know IF
this was to be considered an issue or not. For example --

http://fae.cita.uiuc.edu/about.php

-- is a site that advocates disability issues and best practices, but
their links don't pass the contrast measure. So, either they don't
know it's an issue; or they don't think it's an issue; or it's not
enough of an issue to practice it. I don't know, but it's there.

Also, we as developers don't have to address the link issue at all
and let the user's browser default to whatever that is, right? Could
that be a solution?

Also, you speak of using a heaver font -- does that work? Is font
size an element that can be used to offset the color contrast
requirement? For example, is color-contrast different for a font-size
1em and compared to font-size 1.2em?

Cheers,

tedd


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