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Re: Using color to distinguish a visual element


From: Jablonski, James (LNI)
Date: Dec 9, 2008 3:35PM

Greetings all,

Another consideration is for those who rely on hands-free solutions to
run their computers. Voice recognition is one example.

With the more expensive editions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (the market
leading software) I can command a link to be invoked simply by saying
the text of the link, *if* I know that a link is there, and how to
pronounce it. With Dragon, if I know the command, I can command "Click
Text Link" and even if I don't know where the links are, Dragon will
find them and number them. I can then command it "Choose x" (where x is
its number for the link I want). This will not work for server-side
links, and it will not work on secured pages. The more expensive
editions of Dragon are very robust. The more affordable editions and
competing products are not necessarily able to do this.

My point is that with the consistency of standard, blue underlined
links, a hands-free user will find the page much more accessible. Folks
who use computers with other input methods like head wands, mouth wands,
switches, sip-and-puff, etc. *really need accessibility*. They are not
going to be using a pointing device to sort of scribble-scrabble over
the screen to see if maybe that colored text, or that underlined or bold
or visually arresting thing holds a secret passage to where lies
something of additional value or function. Consistency is critical.

James Jablonski, Assistive Technology Consultant
Washington State, Department of Labor & Industries
<EMAIL REMOVED> (360) 902-5888 FAX (360) 902-6300

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Cliff Tyllick
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 1:46 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Using color to distinguish a visual element

More anecdotal evidence for consistency: At a nonprofit where I
volunteer, I'm having to expand my professional abilities to include CSS
mastery. The main driver? Not the poor styling of headings, not the
crummy font used as body text, but the styling of links. On the main
pages, they look just like text. (On second-tier pages, oddly enough,
they look like *underlined* text.)

Among the hundreds of folks who have used this Web site, I have yet to
encounter one who knows that there are links in the body of each page.

Keep it simple. Be consistent.

Cliff Tyllick
Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

>>> "Mike Osborne - AccEase" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 12/9/2008 3:27
>>> PM >>>
Some time ago I observed a tester with cognitive impairment trying to
navigate a site. She had been taught that a link could be recognised as
having blue text with underline. It was heartbreaking to watch as this
tester tried to establish a link and navigate the site - given that
links were represented differently in the top menu, main menu, left hand
navigation, right hand news/highlight items and of course the footer -
let alone the body text.

Base principle of usability is consistency - blue underline is

I find it interesting to note that the major money-making sites on the
Net - e.g. Amazon, Google stick to blue underline.

Unfortunately usability.gov does not.

Mike Osborne

AccEase Ltd
p. 04 934 2821
m. 021 675 010
w. www.AccEase.com

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Angela Colter
Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2008 8:17 a.m.
Subject: [WebAIM] Using color to distinguish a visual element

I'm in the middle of conducting an accessibility review on a nonprofit's
Web site using WCAG 2.0 guidelines, and I'd like some opinions regarding
whether a component passes or fails a guideline.

The site uses hyperlinks that are styled blue, but not underlined (or
bold or anything else that distinguishes text from links.) However, the
site DOES include a hover state for links. When you mouse over a link,
the underline appears.

Guideline 1.4.1 states that to pass, "Color is not used as the only
visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a
response, or distinguishing a visual element."

So here's my question: Is the hover state enough to qualify as a
distinguishing visual element? Frankly, I don't think so. If you assumed
all the blue on the page is just text, or don't notice the difference
between blue and black text, you might not bother to mouse over and
trigger the hover state.

What do you think?

Angela Colter
Senior Usability Specialist