The Color Contrast Constraint: Negotiating aesthetics and accessibility

This talk is for creative professionals that care deeply about both function and aesthetics, who want to:

  • Know how meeting accessible color contrast guidelines helps users
  • Understand the common creative obstacles, and solutions, for accessible color use
  • Feel confident and comfortable in making color decisions to elevate the experience of all users

Many users manage permanent sight conditions like low vision or color deficiency. Compromised vision is also a common temporal or situational impairment. Anyone can struggle to make out the content on their phone screen in bright sunshine.

If we want to help these users read our content, we should heed the WCAG contrast rules – color combinations should exceed a 4.5:1 ratio. On the surface, this particular WCAG guidelines is easier follow than most others. Leverage one of the many free tools to do the color math and audit a design or site. It seems very straightforward.

So why then do so many UIs not meet the color contrast threshold? Why is this guideline difficult to integrate into the creative process? Simply, the number of accessible color combinations is a limited palette. This leaves the designer battling brand color mandates, passionate art directors, or even battling themselves, the UX professional balancing aesthetics and function. This talk will dive deep into color contrast constraint and offer up different approaches to common color dilemmas. It will cover the processes of creating colorful products and experiences that are accessible, examples of color in accessible design systems and, finally, the knowledge and persuasive tactics needed to elevate UIs by designing with accessible color use in mind.

Design View Full Agenda
Location: Bell Harbor Conference Center Date: March 11, 2019 Time: 3:30 pm - 4:15 pm Photo of Meg Cramer

Megan Cramer