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Re: Resolving 1.4.11

From: Michael Gower <michael.gower@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2018 18:20:28 +0000
To: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Cc: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <OF783615B7.F7A3AEA6-ON8825829D.00637642-8825829D.0064BBB4@notes.na.collabserv.com>
I wasn't sure whether to bring this up on the CFC or in this thread, but I 
would like to understand whether the first example you gave, the 
Knowbility Search mechanism, would be considered to pass the rewording of 
To me, this lacks any visual indication that it is an input field. It is 
indistinguishable from the links immediately below it. The new SC wording 
states "Visual information required to identify user interface components" 
needs to meet a 3:1 ratio.
Would people would fail it for lacking visual identifying characteristics 
on an input? Or does the lack of visual information for all users about 
the input mean this is a design issue, not an accessibility issue?
I also want to understand whether folks think Funka's questions about 
their buttons have been resolved with this new change. Is each button's 
shape, defined by a flat colour, part of the visual information required 
to ID each as a button?
Is it up to the tester to make that call, and thus decide whether the 
button color needs to meet 3:1?

We just had specific questions on a call here at IBM about some new 
low-contrast UI components, and whether we had leeway to fail them with 
the new wording or had to find some other means of convincing the 
designers to rethink the components.

Michael Gower
IBM Accessibility

1803 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC  V8T 5C3
cellular: (250) 661-0098 *  fax: (250) 220-8034

From:   Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
To:     WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Date:   2018-05-26 03:46 PM
Subject:        Resolving 1.4.11

**WARNING – lengthy but important and time-critical email!**
We have a few concerns raised about 1.4.11 Non-text contrast:
1.      Concern from Funka (see Word doc attachment at 

) that the Color limitations for buttons with text on a colored background 
are too limiting. People either won’t be able to use yellow or will need 
to use an extra border and that will be unpopular for designers. This is 
the same issue as the concern about boundaries in Issue 914: 
2.      Does the hover state indicator need to have 3:1? (Issue 913: 
So, what do we do? I think that it helps to look at a bunch of examples:
As a reminder, this is the SC text: 
The visual presentation of the following have a contrast ratio of at least 
3:1 against adjacent color(s):
User Interface Components
Visual information used to indicate states and boundaries of user 
interface components, except for inactive components or where the 
appearance of the component is determined by the user agent and not 
modified by the author;
Graphical Objects
Parts of graphics required to understand the content, except when a 
particular presentation of graphics is essential to the information being 
1.      Knowbility’s search box. There is 4.5:1 text that indicates that 
there is something for the user to activate. It is a search box and when 
you click on it the placeholder text shifts to the left and exposes the 
full area of the input.

2.      Github’s tab interface. It is pretty clear which tab has the 
selected state because of the red accent, but there is definitely not 3:1 
contrast between the background colors of “code” and “issues”, nor is the 
line between these 3:1. 

3.      Github buttons. For the “unwatch” button, the contrast between the 
inside of the button and the outside is 1.08:1, and between the border 
line and the outside background is 1.62:1. The contrast between the 
unwatch text and the little triangle that indicates the drop down is 

4.      Github buttons #2. The contrast everywhere is sufficient except in 
the thin border line around the not-currently-selected items.

5.      New WAI site. The difference in contrast between a hovered item 
and a non-hovered item in the nav is 1:40:1, but there is a high-contrast 
underline that is also part of the hover.

6.      CNN. Contrast of hovered and non-hovered text is greater than 
4.5:1. Contrast between the hovered and non-hovered text is 1.84:1.

7.      Adobe. The light gray background appears on hover and the tiny 
little triangle appears. The text has sufficient contrast in hover and 
non-hover states, but the hover background and triangle don’t.

8.      LevelAccess – high-contrast throughout.

9.      Funka. Active/selected tab shows sufficient contrast for state. 
The non-selected tabs don’t use color to indicate the boundaries.

10.     Funka Search. The three items in the top nav – the left two don’t 
use color to indicate the boundary. The right button does but the contrast 
isn’t 3:1.

11.     Funka search open. Once the search button is open, everything 
seems to have suffient 4.5/3:1 contrast.

12.     Material design. Text fields come in two forms. The example on the 
left has a field background that is less than 3:1 with the background, but 
the line marking the bottom boundary of the field is 3.28:1 on the 
background. For the triangle in the drop down the ratio is 3.02:1 relative 
to the field background.  On the right, the border has a 3.64:1 ratio to 
the background, but it goes all the way around.

13.     Material design selection. The selected item on the left has a 
greater than 3:1 ratio for the checked/unchecked box, but the purple 
background is not 3:1. On the right, the purple activated color has >6:1 
contrast against the light purple and >7:1 against the white, but the 
purple background is less than 3:1 against the white.

14.     GoFundMe donate page: The “your name” label text (not properly 
labeled) is >4.5:1, but the field border and placeholder text are less 
than 3:1.

15.     Buttons with specific boundaries – contrast between states is 
1.75:1, so to some people this just looks like one green area.

16.     Facebook marketplace active area indicator. The greatest contrast 
is the whitish background of groups and the thin border between that and 
the light grey background. 1.22:1 contrast.

17.     Bootstrap checkbox. The checkbox is 1.30:1 contrast relative to 
the background. 


My interpretation of the SC, and what I believe that the WG intended is 
1.      Visual information that is important to identifying the state or 
existence (boundary) needs to be at least 3:1.
2.      All visual aspects of a UI Component at not required to meet 3:1, 
only if it is required to identity the state or existence of the control.
3.      For some components, text that is 4.5:1 is entirely sufficient to 
meet the requirements of 1.4.11. 
a.      Are we requiring a full boundary around links (which are UI 
Components)? I don’t believe so.
b.      Are we ok with a set of tabs like in example #9 above, or does 
each tab need a full boundary to indicate the click area? I believe so.
4.      If a color is less than 3:1, you need to pretend that it doesn’t 
exist at all and assess whether the component passes based on other 
a.      Compare the same set of tabs in example #9 and consider whether it 
is less accessible if the non-active tabs have a pale color background. 
5.      Hover is covered, but not relative to the component’s own 
non-hover state. What is covered is that the hover state needs to meet the 
3:1 ratio for any non-text content. This means that if there is an icon in 
a button that fades out when hovered, it would fail (just like is the case 
for 1.4.3 if text in a hovered button fades on hover). 
With my interpretation the examples above are rated:
1.      Pass
2.      Borderline fail – perhaps an uncomfortable pass?
3.      Pass
4.      Pass
5.      Pass
6.      Pass
7.      Pass
8.      Pass
9.      Pass
10.     Pass
11.     Pass
12.     Pass – the right side example passes easily. The left side, with 
the underline border is, I think, an uncomfortable pass. Like a lined 
paper form, people can figure out the rough size of the fields by 
proximity and spacing, so one line is minimally sufficient.
13.     Pass
14.     Is interesting – this example clearly fails, but if the control 
was properly associated with the label would that help since that creates 
a clickable region that has sufficient contrast and then the control 
becomes more visible when focused because of the focus rectangle or input 
15.     Fail – the contrast for the boundary is particularly significant 
in this situation.
16.     Fail – the contrast for the selected state. This is an example of 
communicating information by color alone and the contrast doesn’t make up 
for the color.
17.     Fail - Similar to #14. Some might argue that if the label is 
properly associated that this makes the text label and image part of one 
control and therefore ok, and we should be clear about that in a technique 
or failure.
If you find that you are agreeing that my interpretation reflects the 
intent of the Working Group, or that you are disagreeing that it reflects 
the intent of the Working Group, please say so.
I have a pull request that implements changes in the Understanding 
document in line with this: 

Is there a downside?
One of the comments we received requested that we implement a requirement 
for a thicker boundary around components. This would unquestionably help 
people, but also creates problems in that we are specifying UI Components, 
including links and other interactive controls. Are we requiring that 
individual items within a select/drop down show clear boundaries since 
each is a separate clickable region? Both of these come into play if the 
strict interpretation of this SC is the intent of the group.
I believe that we need to be unified and clear about this SC’s 
interpretation, and soon!

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Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2018 18:21:15 UTC

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