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


From: Keith Parks
Date: Apr 20, 2007 5:50PM

On Apr 20, 2007, at 2:54 PM, tedd wrote:

> The solution to the problem you raised must provide enough contrast
> between all states of the link as well as being different than
> standard text. That will certainly narrow the field of
> possibilities down considerably. You do have any references on that?


> "Without color" what does that mean? Black on white, or what?

Yeah, that's how I try and think of it. "If this was on a grey-scale
only monitor, would whatever distinction or information that I'm
using color to create still come through?" That's why I almost always
leave the underlines on my links, especially those that are inline
with the text flow.

But then there is also the "context" method. If you have a section of
your page with a heading "Menu" or "Contents" or whatever, and under
that you have some words, it seems to me those words could look like
regular text (black, no underline, or they could be graphics for that
matter) and the context within your design *should* communicate that
they are links.

> Also, is it acceptable to have a "contrast-link" setting for those
> who need it? Will that satisfy the section 508 spec's? Or, is this
> supposed to be a "one-size fit all" sort of thing?

If you mean a user option to change the presentation colors,
contrast, size, etc., I'm not sure. Certainly my goal is the "one
size" approach, even if it means an occasional compromise on the
design side.

> That example I gave was a 20 percent increase in the size of the
> font. Okay, let's try this again, what if one paragraph font size
> is twice the font size of a different paragraph? Do they fall under
> different contrast guidelines?

I don't think there is a specific "contrast" guideline in 508 (in W3C
maybe?), only the point about info being conveyed with color. I think
the color contrast recommendation like the color wheel you linked to
are more "best practices, practical solutions" to address color
vision issues.

In terms of font size, I would think 2X normal size type would be
quite noticable. ;^)

But assuming there is some content distinction you are trying to
communicate by having one paragraph be twice as big, remember that
you should also build that distinction in through the structural
markup. Either tag it as <strong> or <em> (emphasis), then use CSS to
display that tag twice normal size.

My 2ยข,


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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