Use of Color
Success Criterion 1.4.1 (Level A)


Are you ensuring that color is not the only means of providing information or distinguishing visual content?

Why is this important

Although the use of color is an integral and effective part of product design, some users have difficulty perceiving color. When color is used as the only way to convey important information, the color may not be seen at all by users with color deficiencies.

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a person with color blindness who cannot see red,
I want input form fields that convey errors or “required” information to have text prompts in addition to color cues,
so that I can identify input fields that need to be corrected or completed.

Example 2:

As a person with limited sight, I find it difficult to differentiate between colors in a chart,
I want data identified by both colors and patterns,
so that I can understand the content presented in the manner intended.

What should you do?

When using color to indicate information, ensure that there are additional methods used to convey the same meaning.

Note: This does not mean that visual design should abandon creative use of color, but rather that color should not be the only method implemented.

How do you do it?

When using color to convey information, also include another visual means to provide the same information.

Some suggested techniques for images, tables, charts, or graphs that use color include:

  • Using icons, shapes or patterns with alternative text
  • Adding text legends near the image, table, chart or graph
  • Providing an alternative text summary of the information being presented

Need technical guidance?

Additional Resources to help you: