Center for Online Learning
Georgia Southern University

Accessible Color

For users that are color blind, partially sighted, or blind, color can be confusing or useless. This does not mean you cannot use color, but that you should understand its limitations.

Color for Emphasis

Avoid using only color for emphasis or to convey information since it may be meaningless to  color blind users with specific color deficiencies as well as blind users.

Date Event Venue
12 February Waltz with Strauss Main Hall
24 March The Obelisks West Wing
14 April The What Main Hall
Tickets are sold out!

It’s okay to use color for emphasis or to convey information, but present information in formats that all users can understand.

Date Event Venue Tickets
12 February Waltz with Strauss Main Hall Sold Out!
24 March The Obelisks West Wing Available
14 April The What Main Hall Available

Color Contrast Ratios

Sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors promotes readability. When contrast is low, readability of text is reduced. Recommended contrast ratios for foreground to background color.

  • Main text: 4.5 to 1
  • Large text (18+ points): 3 to 1

Microsoft Word Standard Colors

The results may seem surprising, but six of ten colors fail to meet the 4.5:1 threshold against a white background for main text. As you can see, use color cautiously and stick to the highest contrast combinations possible.

Color Samples

Pass: 6.5 to 1 Fail: 4 to 1 Fail: 1.6 to 1 Fail: 1.1 to 1 Fail: 1.8 to 1
Fail: 2.9 to 1 Fail: 4.5 to 1 Pass: 5.1 to 1 Pass: 15 to 1 Pass: 8 to 1
Pass: 6 to 1 Fail: 2.9 to 1 Pass: 4.8 to 1 Pass: 9.3 to 1 Fail: 2 to 1

Grayscale Samples

Pass: 21 to 1 Pass: 4.5:1 Fail: 1.8 to 1 Fail: 1.8 to 1 Pass: 4.5 to 1 Pass: 21: to 1

Tools for Checking Contrast Ratios

Last updated: 5/4/2017

Center for Online Learning : : Henderson Library, Suite 1303 : : (912) 478-0049