I have a website, with an accessibility menu that allows the user to change the contrast level of the colors in the page in order to be compliant with accessibility level AA

Does anybody know by change whether it is enough to have the contrast control via the menu, or do I have to have a valid contrast immediately when the page loads?

If you know of any official link that supports your answer it would be perfect

Thank you very much!!

  • 3
    Why wouldn't you make the site AA compliant by default? I've never worked on a website where we haven't done that. Not to make it AA compliant is basically meaning you're not building the site correctly in the first place. – JonW Nov 17 '16 at 13:28
  • 1
    Which accessibility guidelines are you using? There's 508, WCAG, NCQA, CMS, ... And who is your client? (In my limited experience, the client specifies which guidelines to use and to what level.) – Ken Mohnkern Nov 17 '16 at 13:47
  • 1
    There are lots of people who need a little more help to use your software, e.g. people who have some form of disability who are already experiencing difficulties in everyday life, and are now experiencing difficulties with your website. Also there are a lot of people who need a little help (you in 50 years probably) Meeting accessibility often improves your website usability for everyone irrespective of their abilities. There is more to accessibility than contrast level and please do not force THEM to make things easier for themselves. – SteveD Nov 17 '16 at 14:38
  • First off, thanks everyone for responding! @jonW In my country it is mandatory (by law) to create all websites accessible. In most cases we do create the site AA compliant on the default design, but, in some cases - there might be slight contradiction between the design that we think that would fit the best and some accessibility definitions required by the standard. In any case - we provide the accessible version via a menu that controls the look of the site (font size, contrast, animation stop, etc...), and the standard (as I see it) is pretty vague – Yaron U. Nov 18 '16 at 17:08

First off, kudos to you for working on accessibility. I don't know if you're doing it out of the kindness of your heart or if it's a requirement.

It'd be nice for a site to be AA compliant by default rather than having to change a setting, but at least you're providing that feature. And to answer your main question, yes, having the feature is enough to satisfy WCAG 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum)

Some people need much more than the minimum contrast (4.5), and perhaps even more than enhanced contrast (7, WCAG 1.4.6), and while the latter is a AAA criteria, I'm not sure we want our sites to all be AAA by default. Making everything black on white or white on black (maximum contrast) will be helpful to some people but not others. Even if your site had sufficient contrast by default, the color choices might not be good for some people. There's no way to have a default site be good for everyone (but we can try).

But I do agree with @JonW that, ideally, you should try to be AA compliant by default without the user having to change anything. That's just a good user experience.

As far as an "official link" to support my answer, that's tricky. WCAG is a great checklist to assist in making a site accessible but be careful you don't fall in the trap of "checking off boxes" from that list. You can certainly implement all of WCAG AA and say you're accessible, but it could be a horrid experience for the user if you completely ignore UX.

Whether you implement a WCAG criteria directly on your site (such as the default color contrast or font size or keyboard focus) or if you provide a "settings" type dialog where the user can change these settings, they both satisfy the guideline, but I don't think there's any "official" doc that really says that. It's more about the user experience.

The more you can do for the user without them having to fudge the settings, the better.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.