Color Contrast, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

  • 24.05.2020

The threat is real and only getting worse. Just as a commercial property can be sued for not being accessible, so can a commercial website. A website is legally viewed as a public accommodation and under Title III, all public accommodations must be fully compliant. Serial litigants are now targeting websites for ADA lawsuits, and from Dominos Pizza, to small local businesses, every commercial website is at risk of getting hit.

We have been watching the damage to businesses accelerate over the last couple of years. At first, inquires would trickle in sporadically, but now we get calls for help just about every day. We are not alone in seeing this spike in ADA website lawsuits. An ADA defense specialist lawyer we work with used to handle 100% physical lawsuits, she is now handling 50% physical/50% website lawsuits and expects to soon be handling 100% website lawsuits.

That is why we are launching this series of blog posts with corresponding videos to help explain the major issues a website can have to make it non-accessible.

Color Contrast and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Today we are focusing on contrast and color, which are vital to users with visual disabilities. In order to be compliant to WCAG 2.2 AA standards, viewers must be able to perceive content on the page. For website accessibility purposes, compliant contrast is defined by a proper measure of the difference in perceived brightness between two colors. You must have sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors. This is required for not just text and images, but for links, icons and buttons.

Contrast is important for everybody – nobody responds well when their eyes have to strain due to insufficient contrast – but for people with low contrast sensitivity, which is common for people as they age, it will not just be a nuisance, but can leave a website impossible to navigate. If the level of contrast is lower than what is required, your website will not be accessible to everybody and you could be at risk for a lawsuit.

So how do you ensure your website has sufficient contrast to ensure it is accessible to everybody? Have a trained professional auditor review your site. Don’t depend on a software program to scan your site – they only run at around 40% accuracy. A live audit is crucial to verifying that your website is accessible to all, not just for color and contrast, but for hundreds of other factors that a website must have to be ADA compliant.

Should you wish to discuss this process, or how we can assist you in auditing a website, please don’t hesitate to reach out.