Understanding color contrast and WCAG compliance

As a professional website designer, one of our primary goals is to create visually appealing and user-friendly websites for everyone.


As a professional website designer, one of our primary goals is to create visually appealing and user-friendly websites that cater to a wide range of audiences. Part of achieving this goal involves ensuring that the website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. One crucial aspect of WCAG compliance is color contrast. In this article, we will explore the significance of color contrast and how our design choices align with WCAG principles to create an inclusive online experience for all users.

What is WCAG?

WCAG, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, is a set of internationally recognized standards created to ensure that digital content, such as websites and web applications, is accessible to a diverse range of users, including those with disabilities.

WCAG compliance involves following specific guidelines and criteria that address various aspects of accessibility, such as text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard navigation, and color contrast. 

The aim is to make online content perceivable, operable, and understandable for all individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, thereby promoting a more inclusive and user-friendly digital environment.

Read about Web Accessibility Initiative.

The importance of color contrast

Color contrast is the difference in luminance or brightness between text and its background. It plays a pivotal role in making content easily readable and comprehensible for users, particularly those with visual impairments or other disabilities. Here's why color contrast matters:

1. Enhancing Readability: Adequate color contrast improves text legibility, making it easier for everyone to read and understand the content on your website. Small or low-contrast text can be a significant barrier to user engagement.

2. Inclusivity: An accessible website welcomes all users, regardless of their abilities. By ensuring sufficient contrast, we can accommodate those with color blindness or other visual impairments, ensuring they can access and enjoy your site's content.

3. Compliance with WCAG: WCAG sets specific guidelines for color contrast ratios, which must be met to achieve accessibility compliance. Adhering to these standards is not only ethically responsible but also legally required in many regions.

How we make design choices

Our commitment to creating accessible websites means that we prioritize color contrast throughout the design process. Here are some ways we make design choices that align with WCAG compliance:

1. Contrast Ratios: We carefully calculate and implement the contrast ratios recommended by WCAG. This means choosing text and background colors with sufficient brightness differences to meet the minimum requirements (usually a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text).

2. Color Testing: We utilize color testing tools and techniques to ensure that our chosen color combinations pass WCAG guidelines. These tools help us evaluate color contrast objectively, guaranteeing that our design choices are based on measurable standards.

3. Color Palette Selection: We carefully curate color palettes that are not only visually pleasing but also accessible. This involves selecting colors that work well together and meet WCAG standards.

4. Alternative Text: Beyond color, we also pay attention to providing alternative text for images, charts, and other non-text content, ensuring that all users can understand the information presented, regardless of their abilities.

Tools we use

These are the 5 we us the most during our process of choosing color palettes and making sure theiy are WCAG compliant


The importance of web accessibility cannot be overstated. As your web designer, we are committed to making responsible design choices that prioritize inclusivity. Color contrast, a fundamental aspect of WCAG compliance, plays a significant role in ensuring that your website is welcoming and usable for all visitors.

By carefully selecting color combinations, testing for accessibility, and adhering to WCAG standards, we not only enhance the overall user experience but also demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity, social responsibility, and legal compliance. Your website should be a platform that everyone can engage with, and we take pride in ensuring that our design choices reflect this principle.

Adam - Web designer Grass Valley

Adam Roguljic

Hi. Im Adam, freelance website designer, and creator of 1Earth Studio. I am a former mechanical engineer, I take the engineering mind and help you build strategy driven websites that help grow your business.

Interested in working together?