Skip to content

24 ways to impress your friends

Vote up?

Cliff Tyllick

Richard K is absolutely right. It’s important not to override the user’s stylesheet. It would be even better to give each user the opportunity to set the foreground and background of your site to a combination that works for them.

In doing so, you would be helping a lot of people—perhaps people who have dyslexia, but also people who have low moderate vision. Low moderate vision is anywhere between 20/70 and 20/200.

Some folks whose vision is in this range use screen readers, as do some people with dyslexia, because it’s easier for them. But others magnify the text as much as possible and get as close to the screen as possible to read your text.

“As close to the screen as possible” is where being able to set the color combination comes in. A white or very light background becomes a glare, so their eyes get tired quickly. White text on a black background is like oncoming headlights in the dark—visible, but blindingly so.

Ann, many would find your combination of medium gray on very light gray comfortable enough. But one of my friends with low moderate vision would still have to darken the background just a bit, and another would still find it uncomfortable to read.

This second friend uses a stylesheet with a combination of beige on khaki. I can barely make the text out—the color contrast ratio is 1.1. But my friend finds it easy enough to see and not uncomfortable for however long she needs to read.

All this is to say that it is impossible for us to accommodate the needs of every user with respect to color combination. So yielding control to the user is essential to making our websites fully accessible. And making it easier for the user to choose their own color combinations, perhaps even educating them to the steps they can follow to make every website easier to read, would show the utmost consideration for your reader’s needs.

By the way, please don’t go looking at my website as an example of accessible design. At least not until I rob someone else’s stylesheets. (I’m no designer, and whenever I think I have dressed myself in a really great color combination, my wife tells me to change. I can’t even use colorblindness to explain that problem away, because all the tests say I’m not.)