RE: Graphics contrast comments overview

> So if contrast is used to distinguish the state of an element, is it not covered by 1.3.1 requiring programmatic determination?

Sailesh, SC 1.3.1 allows for this to be met programmatically or as text.  The problem is that this generally means use of ARIA or hidden text that is not available to users with low vision or color perception impairments -- only screen reader users.  We are trying to address items for visual users with visual impairments with this SC.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sailesh Panchang [] 
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:50 PM
To: James Nurthen <>; WCAG <>
Cc: Alastair Campbell <>; Michael Gower <>; Jonathan Avila <>
Subject: Re: Graphics contrast comments overview

As per the note to SC 1.4.1, one needs to take recourse to Guideline
1.3 which I interpret to mean 1.3.1 here when a presentation mechanism other than color is relied to convey info-relationships.
So if contrast is used to distinguish the state of an element, is it not covered by 1.3.1 requiring programmatic determination?
Thanks and regards,

On 11/15/17, James Nurthen <> wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2017, 8:46 AM -0800, Michael Gower 
> <>,
> wrote:
>> There is no language requiring a contrast minimum between the states 
>> themselves. I would really like that to at least be captured in the 
>> Understanding doc, if it can't be part of the SC, because being 
>> unable to differentiate between states is as much of a problem as not 
>> being able to differentiate between controls.
> I always fail this on 1.4.1 Use of Color: Color is not used as the 
> only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, 
> prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. (Level A)
> If the ratio is 3:1 or greater then it is no longer color alone (hue 
> and
> lightness) so no longer fails 1.4.1. As such I don’t think this needs 
> to be in this SC.
>> The same concern applies for disabled versus enabled controls.
>> Speaking of disabled controls, we exclude disabled controls from 
>> contrast considerations completely, but I've always felt that if a 
>> designer bothers to put a disabled element in the UI, that element's 
>> visual presence is important, and should be discernible with some 
>> minimum contrast (even if it is reduced). Every designer balks when I 
>> say 'Okay, if it's not important, why not remove it from your design 
>> entirely until it is active?'
>> At the least, can we work disabled controls into the AAA SC discussed?
>> Alastair, I'd be happy to help try to craft that.
>> Michael Gower
>> IBM Accessibility
>> Research
>> 1803 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC  V8T 5C3
>> voice: (250) 220-1146 * cel: (250) 661-0098 *  fax: (250) 220-8034
>> From:        Alastair Campbell <>
>> To:        Jonathan Avila <>, WCAG
>> <>
>> Date:        2017-11-15 08:28 AM
>> Subject:        Re: Graphics contrast comments overview
>> Hi Jon,
>> > if the author uses a border to communicate the role of something
>> > then the aspect has to meet the contrast requirements.
>> Agree. Also, I noticed we missed out the default-appearance exception, so
>> I’ve updated that to say:
>> “Visual information used to indicate state for active user interface
>> components, except where the appearance of the component is determined by
>> the user agent and not modified by the author.”
>> > It doesn't require an author provide that affordance if they didn't.  So
>> > if I choose to make a piece of text blue and have it function like a
>> > button nothing needs to be done other than the contrast of the blue text
>> > in the non-focused state or non-pressed state of that button.
>> Agree.
>> > If I use a solid background to make something look like a button then I
>> > have to make sure the edge of the background has sufficient contrast
>> > from the surrounding pixels outside of the focused or pressed state.
>> Agree.
>> > If I have multiple buttons with some in pressed and others in
>> > non-pressed states the difference between the colors used for the
>> > pressed states need to have a 3:1 ratio as well.
>> Agree. It is also worth considering the ‘adjacent’ aspect, if buttons are
>> not immediately adjacent, then they do not have to contrast with each
>> other.
>> > Focus indicators need to provide 3:1 contrast as well.  Is that right?
>> Yes, although with-what depends on what they are adjacent to.
>> Cheers,
>> -Alastair

Sailesh Panchang
Principal Accessibility Consultant
Deque Systems Inc
Phone 703-225-0380 ext 105
Mobile: 571-344-1765

Received on Monday, 27 November 2017 14:02:53 UTC