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An abstract graphic depicting a confusion of colors. From the left navy blue goes to pink, then red and ends pomarańczowym na środku. Od środka do prawej strony kolory przechodzą odwrotnie.Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Today, Criterion 1.4.1 of WCAG – Use of Color (Level A)

This is a continuation of Criterion 1.3.3 of WCAG – Sensory Characteristics, which we discussed a few weeks ago. Let’s start with the fact that it concerns everyone, but especially people with visual impairments. For these individuals, color often doesn’t matter, and they need an alternative way to present highlighted information

Let’s look at the most common situations where the use of color is the only way to highlight content, which may be significant for people with visual impairments. These include highlighted content, links within text, charts, and form fields.

If we present differences in successive elements solely through color, blind individuals using assistive technology won’t receive information about what has been emphasized. The same goes for people with color vision impairments, such as color blindness.

  • So what can we do? Remember that color shouldn’t be the only visual means of conveying content
  • Text that is significant, besides color, can have borders, labels, or other visual effects.
  • Links surrounded by text should be highlighted, for example, by underlining.
  • If they can’t be underlined, ensure that the contrast with the surrounding text is at least 3:1.
  • Form fields with incorrect entries should be marked with an additional icon signaling an error, and required fields should be marked with an asterisk (*).
  • Charts should also have an additional pattern or texture, such as hatching.

Link to WCAG documentation –

Radosław Stachurski

Radosław Stachurski

Accessibility Specialist & WCAG 2.1 Auditor & Quality Assurance