The Bureau of Internet Accessibility (BoIA) has announced the release of its new automated color contrast tool, the Color Contrast Accessibility Validator. The tool is offered free of charge and is intended for use by website owners and developers to test their web pages for color contrast issues that can impede usability for people with visual disabilities.
BoIA’s Color Contrast Accessibility Validator stands out among competing tools mainly due to its ease of use and uncomplicated protocols, making it immediately clear to the user which text does not meet the accessibility guidelines. For each error that it encounters, the tool displays a variety of useful information so that users can quickly understand how to correct the error, such as:
- The current contrast ratio of the text and the required contrast ratio
- The background and text colors, as well as their RGB and hexadecimal values
- Font information such as style, size, weight, and line height
- The content of the text and the associated HTML code to help easily locate the issue
- The percentage by which the contrast ratio should be increased in order to meet minimum requirements
The web-based tool was developed to help companies ensure that their websites comply with Guideline 1.4.3 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, the technical standard which states that website text and images of text must have a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1. Exceptions include large-scale text, which has a minimum ratio of 3:1, and text in logos and decorations, which has no minimum requirement.
Using a high contrast ratio for a website’s color scheme is important in order to fully service people with color-blindness, low vision, and other visual disabilities. Over 3 million Americans have a visual disability, a number which is expected to more than double to 8 million in the next 30 years. In order to adequately service the needs of this growing population, and to meet requirements set out by legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, high-contrast color schemes are an important piece of making any website accessible.
The tool is available at no charge to the general public at https://color.a11y.com.