WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

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


From: Emma Duke-Williams
Date: Apr 21, 2007 4:00PM

On 21/04/07, Randall Pope2 < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> As a low vision person like myself, I feel there is a big need for color
> contrast in the web design. As some of you may already know, less than 10%
> of the legally blind population is actually total blind. I believe about
> 35% of the blind population use some kind of accessible devices such as JAWS
> to access the information on the web but I'm not 100% sure about this. But
> I do know a good number of low vision readers do use their vision without
> any kind of assisting devices.

Relating this comment back to the point about some users finding too
much contrast difficult, does any one have any statistics about the
numbers of users who fall into these groups - and also what other aids
they might be using. (I know a friend's child had difficulty reading,
it wasn't dyslexia, nor irlen lens sydrome; they weren't quite sure
exactly what. Whatever the problem, and it doesn't really matter,
tinted glasses helped him - he used them for everything; PC, books
etc. )

> As a low vision user, my suggestion of the four states of the links in
> regards to color contrast:
> Link = very important. The underline does help but sometimes I cannot tell
> the difference from a content underline from the link underline. Many
> times, I have click on underline words only to find out that is not a link
> after clicking on it several times, not to mention of being annoyed. Plus
> the color contrast between the link and the content does help a lot.

The thing I'd say here, is that anything that's not a link shouldn't
be underlined. Given that people do have differing needs when it comes
to contrast; and, as others have pointed out, it's not the contrast
between foreground & background that is important for links, it's the
contrast between different words.
> Visited = important. Many times I get confused which page that I visit
> because the website does not offer a different color. Also a contrasted
> color background is a big help in finding the visited links.


> Hover = very important. This feature really helps me assure that my mouse
> in the right position before clicking. Without the hover many times I did
> not have the mouse in proper position which resulted going to the wrong
> page.

As someone with no disability, I'd agree with that. The sites that use
hover & put a coloured background under the word - make it very easy
to see what's a link.
> Many thanks for the question and hope some of you will have an idea what I
> see. I do have one big issue: Sign Language users who use American Sign
> Language as their first language. There are quite a few deaf who cannot
> read English writing well but can understand the content through sign
> language.

Do you mean having essentially an image based page, with images of
different signs (does ASL have a different grammar to spoken English,
in the way that BSL does) - which would, in fact be the equivalent of
producing the page in French or any other foreign language. Or, would
you envisage having videos of someone signing the information?

I guess the ideal would be to have both text based and at least one
other. Would I be right in also assuming that, like many deaf British
Adults who have grown up with BSL as their first langage, native ASL
users tend to have reading (of English) levels below the average
anyway? ANd, I guess, some will come from homes where neither ASL nor
English is the first langauge of the rest of the household. A
multilingual audience!

Blog: http://www.tech.port.ac.uk/staffweb/duke-wie/blog/