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


From: Keith Parks
Date: Apr 20, 2007 12:20PM

On Apr 20, 2007, at 10:26 AM, tedd wrote:

> I use the following link a lot. It's a great link into understand
> color contrast.
> http://gmazzocato.altervista.org/colorwheel/wheel.php
> If you play with it, you'll see that there is a very small area of
> "OK!" settings.

It seems like you're getting into a different issue here. That color
wheel is aimed at checking text/background contrast, right? Whereas
originally you were talking about having sufficient difference
between two *foreground* text color, no?

> 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?

If you are not altering the link presentation at all, then I would
think yes, it would be a non-issue in that context.

> 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?

At least in terms of the 508 spec's, "...information conveyed with
color is also available without color, for example from context or

Since part of the "information" you are trying to communicate is that
one bit of text is a link, while another bit is not, then if your
*only* differentiation between links and non is color, even if it
does pass the contrast tests, you'd still come up short. A larger
font would theoretically qualify as a non-color distinction, but
depending on if the user has text anti-aliasing, what their monitor
resolution is, etc, I'm not sure that a .2em difference would even be
distinguishable in many cases.


Keith Parks
Graphic Designer/Web Designer
Student Affairs Communications Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7444

(619) 594-1046


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