I recently heard that all UNL administrative units are going to have to change their web pages to conform to the UNL template. In searching for information about the UNL template, I discovered that "accessibility" is one of the criteria for the template. This makes me wonder how "accessibility" is defined.
My daughter is legally blind, but she is able to read by holding her head close to the reading material. She is also colorblind. As a high school senior, she has been looking at a lot of college web sites. She finds the UNL web site to be one of the worst for her to use.
The fonts used on the UNL web site are very small. Yes, she can make them bigger on her computer, but that also makes everything else bigger, which changes the layout and makes the page hard to navigate. The links, which are important, are smaller than the press releases, which are relatively less important. For a visually-impaired person, it is difficult just to locate the menus, much less to use them, because the eyes are naturally drawn to the press releases that appear in a larger font.
The biggest problem is the lack of contrast in the color scheme. Some of the menu items are light gray on dark gray or dark gray on light gray. When my daughter looks at these, she cannot tell that there are any words written there. If they had been red on light grey, for example, they would have been readable. As they are, she has to have someone else control the computer when she navigates the UNL site. The UNL web site is not accessible for her.
I guess it all depends on what you want. If you want to define "accessibility" narrowly as "suitable for software that turns content into speech," then I suppose the UNL web site is accessible, although I suspect it is still difficult to find the needles of the menu in the haystack of total content. This may be satisfactory in a legal sense, but it is not satisfactory in a moral sense. If you define "accessibility" more broadly as "readable to the largest number of people using the greatest variety of tools," then the UNL template leaves a lot to be desired.
It is bad enough that the main web site has this problem. Forcing academic units to make their web sites less accessible than they currently are so that they conform to the UNL standard is wrong, and I will urge my academic unit not to comply.
We will take these issues into account in the redevelopment process.
Using that W3C formula, the red over light gray that you suggest, if by light gray you mean the hexadecimal color #8A8A82 in our current palette and by red you mean the #CC0000 in our current palette, do not pass ... the color difference value using that color combination is 334, the brightness difference is 76.092. To be acceptable according to Web Content Accessibility guildelines, the former value would need to exceed 500, the latter 125.
Color brightness is determined by the following formula:
((red value X 299) + (green value X 587) + (blue value X 114)) / 1000
Note: This algorithm is taken from a formula for converting RGB values to YIQ values. This brightness value gives a perceived brightness for a color.
Color difference is determined by the following formula:
(maximum (red value 1, red value 2) - minimum (red value 1, red value 2)) + (maximum (green value 1, green value 2) - minimum (green value 1, green value 2)) + (maximum (blue value 1, blue value 2) - minimum (blue value 1, blue value 2))
The range for color brightness difference is 125. The range for color difference is 500.
When we refer to accessibility, we are referring to the standards and recommendations set forth by the federal government (Section 508) and the Worldwide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Bob Crisler wrote:The WCAG guidelines are an attempt to normalize visual issues to a standard. It is the only international standard on web accessibility; however imperfect it may be, it's what we've got.
"The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
- Tim Berners-Lee
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