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RE: avoid "color contrast"

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 13:30:08 +0000
To: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>, Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
CC: Eric Eggert <ee@w3.org>, "EOWG (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <ae1b81c645ef4e43af4f6c364c0da67f@BY2PR02MB171.namprd02.prod.outlook.com>
I think that we need to discuss this more.  I do note that the phrase "color contrast" isn't in the WCAG spec, but does appear in 16 places in the techniques (all in link text) and 15 times in Understanding.

I'm reluctant to go along with "luminance contrast" as I agree with the document at http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary#contrast which says that this sounds jargony. I'm also not sure that I would say that "color contrast" is incorrect, although this same page says that.  

Can someone explain why it is incorrect?  I can agree that it is probably less precise than "luminance contrast" but as luminance is a property of color it seems that when we say color contrast that we are really saying "contrast between the luminance values for two colors".  

There's a bunch of links that we have in understanding where the authors have chosen to use "color contrast".  Much of the advice on color in WCAG 2.0 actually came from Lighthouse for the Blind researchers - if this terminology doesn't bother them, should it bother us?

I guess I'm pushing back on the ideas that we shouldn't use "color contrast" and should use "luminance contrast". We have a defined term that is "contrast ratio" but it refers to color luminance, so I'm really not clear on the harm of saying "color contrast ratio".  I feel that when we say "color contrast" people understand that there is some sort of color difference that needs to be provided, and if we say "luminance contrast" people will say "huh?".  

So, why is "color contrast" incorrect?


-----Original Message-----
From: Joshue O Connor [mailto:joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie] 
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:13 AM
To: Shawn Henry
Cc: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org; Eric Eggert; EOWG (E-mail)
Subject: Re: avoid "color contrast"

Hi Shawn and all,

> Actually, *the wording used throughout those WCAG pages* is "contrast 
> ratio" and "luminance contrast". "Color contrast" is only used once in 
> the main text, and twice in the future techniques -- which EOWG 
> assumed was just an oversight.
> In conclusion, EOWG's comment to WCAG WG was to correct the couple of 
> places where "color contrast" seemed to be a mistake. :)

Ok, good stuff. Thanks for putting the issue on our radar and I look forward to working it out.


> Best,
> ~Shawn
> On 3/12/2014 3:55 PM, Joshue O Connor wrote:
>> Hi Shawn,
>>> Please avoid the phrase "color contrast".
>> <chair hat off>
>> I'm happy to discuss this but it could be a big ask - essentially you 
>> are technically right but there is a common vernacular amongst 
>> developers and the term 'colour contrast' is well established as 'it'
>> - largely based on the language traditionally used by WCAG it's worth 
>> noting.
>> Also it's worth noting that even if light intensity is measured in 
>> lumens, and variations within RGB values represent (on screen) what 
>> we know as colour - as a 'cowpath' the term 'colour contrast' already 
>> has a lot of traction and common understanding so to switch now - or 
>> attempt to switch could create more dissonance than it is worth.
>> My 2 cents
>> Josh
>>> Some places we've found it:
>>> *
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-cont
>>> rast.html
>>> *
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20-20080430/visual-au
>>> dio-contrast-contrast.html
>>> Additionally, several pages include "color contrast" in the 
>>> Resources listings. We wonder if it would be worthwhile to add a 
>>> note there, e.g., something along the lines of what we have at
>>> <http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary#contrast>: This 
>>> accessibility requirement is sometimes called sufficient "color 
>>> contrast"; however, that is incorrect - technically it's "luminance contrast"...
>>> Thanks,
>>> Shawn for EOWG
Received on Thursday, 13 March 2014 13:30:41 UTC

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