7 minute read

Companies have many different reasons for choosing their colors when designing a website. Whether they're trying to create an environment of calm or excitement, most businesses select their brand colors to evoke an emotional response in users and captivate potential customers. However, web designers face a challenging issue when they’re creating a website with color accessibility in mind.

If your website’s design relies on color to communicate messages, people with color blindness will find it extremely challenging to navigate and understand your content. But by instituting a few best practices, you can create websites accessible to everyone.

Before getting started, you’ll need to develop an understanding of what it means to be color blind. Then, we can discuss how you can tailor your websites to be more welcoming and inclusive to color blind audiences.

What Is Color Blindness, and Who Does it Affect?

If you’re not color blind, you may be surprised to hear that color blindness is more common than you may think. In fact, studies show that 300 million people across the globe are color blind, affecting about 1 in every 12 men and 1 in 200 women. What’s interesting about color blindness is that people with this condition can see with focus and clarity, but they find it challenging to distinguish between different colors. There are several different types of color blindness, but, for example, most color blind people cannot tell the difference between shades of green and red.

While accommodating color blindness may be a new idea for your business, creating an ADA-compliant website benefits both users and companies. When your website is accessible to many different people, it positively impacts the user’s emotional response, purchase decisions, and overall experience. For instance, many companies emphasize brand colors chosen with emotional impact in mind. However, using the wrong colors could mean that over 8% of people that visit your website won’t fully experience your brand. 

Since color-blind users cannot distinguish between specific colors, web designers will need more than a vibrant color palette to evoke an emotional response or improve readability for this audience. When creating an accessible design, it’s essential to empathize with your users and consider how they will interact with your website. With the right strategy, web designers can prevent and resolve user pain points, including those related to color blindness.

Best Practices for Color Accessibility

When you’re armed with the right knowledge, designing a website for color accessibility is more straightforward than you may think. Remember that the most common symptom of color blindness is the inability to distinguish between colors that appear to blend into one another. The key to cultivating color accessibility is a suitable color palette with increased contrast combined with design techniques that emphasize the most crucial elements of your site. And if you’re struggling with creating an accessible website, you can always seek the assistance of professional web designers and developers who are well-versed in the subject.

1. Minimalist Design

Minimalism is all the rage in web design, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Although it can be tempting to fill each web page with zany, eye-catching design elements, using too many colors can confuse users and decrease the quality of their user experience. Minimalist web design techniques continue to trend because they are tried and true. Plus, in the realm of color accessibility, minimalism decreases the chances that users will find it challenging to navigate through your website and grasp critical information.

Although minimalism isn’t a requirement for accessibility, it is a versatile option effective for many different users. And since there are fewer colors in minimalistic web design, color blind users will be able to understand the purpose of each web page quickly. When your color palette is limited, ensure that you use colors that contrast well with one another. Of course, black and white is a classic choice, but there’s no need to feel constrained to these two colors. Since most color blind people struggle to discern between blue, green, and red shades, it’s better to avoid working with these colors by themselves.

2. Incorporate Clear Labels and Symbols

When you’re working with experienced web designers, you can use so much more than color to communicate your brand’s message. With the help of clear labeling, it’s much easier to guide users throughout their customer journey, especially people who are color blind or otherwise visually impaired. Labels allow users to visually decipher any information typically expressed using color, including data visualization and webpage. 

It isn’t necessary to use text alone when you’re experimenting with different types of labels. You can also create evocative symbols that enable users to understand each functionality within the website easily. To create a better user experience, ensure that the symbols you use are familiar and easy to grasp for a variety of users.

3. Use Patterns and Textures for Contrast

When experimenting with color isn’t an option, using a variety of patterns and textures can make your website dynamic while keeping it much more accessible to color-blind users. For example, color is often an essential tool for data visualization, especially if you’re creating graphs or pie charts. However, colors with low contrast can negatively affect the overall user experience for color-blind audiences.

Instead of relying on color, use patterns and textures that make it easier for color-blind users to absorb data. The addition of text labels can further simplify any data you are displaying. You can also use patterns or textures to define different segments of the website to enhance navigation. 

4. Avoid These Color Combos for Improved Accessibility

The color combinations that you choose to work with have a drastic effect on your website’s color accessibility, so it’s crucial that you choose the most effective color palette possible. However, designing for color accessibility can be tricky because color blindness affects people differently.

Generally speaking, color combinations involving greens and greys are the worst choice when considering color blindness. When you’re deciding which colors to use for your website, be sure to avoid these combinations commonly affected by color blindness:

  • Green and Red
  • Green and Brown
  • Blue and Grey
  • Blue and Purple

Of course, you may not be able to avoid all of these colors at all times. That’s why it’s important to consider shade values and contrast as well. Individuals with color blindness can still accurately perceive hue, saturation, brightness, and contrast, but many people with color blindness have trouble distinguishing between dull colors that seem to fade into one another. Experienced web designers can help you avoid this pain point by working with bright, lively colors. Remember, just because people are color blind doesn’t mean that you can’t use color at all! The key is to be strategic and thoughtful with the colors you choose.

5. Reconsider Your CTA Buttons

If your website’s visitors are color blind, keep in mind that the contrast between colors is often more important than the colors themselves. When a user can’t find your calls to action, it means that they won’t move along their customer journey, and your conversion rates will suffer as a result. Luckily, you can use more than color alone to ensure that your CTA stands out amongst a sea of text and images. Consider using the following techniques to make your CTAs more noticeable:

  • Size
  • Placement
  • Symbolic icons
  • Heavy contrast
  • Weighted fonts and borders

Furthermore, if there are any important links, ensure that they are clearly underlined rather than simply changing the color. Although most web designers draw attention to a link using the color blue, people with color blindness cannot see it. If users have a rare form of color blindness, such as monochromacy or achromatopsia, it won’t be sufficient to emphasize color because they view the links as grayed out. To mitigate any of these issues, underline your anchor text.

Let Us Help You Create a Color-Blind Accessible Site

In this day and age, people from all walks of life must use the internet to complete the most simple daily tasks. Incorporating elements that support accessibility within your web design is an essential part of connecting with your customer base and cultivating a sense of trust. However, designing for color-blind accessibility requires a thorough understanding of how to create a website that is easy for everyone to engage with. The most effective web designers know that thoughtful, inclusive techniques will improve the overall user experience and support your company’s growth.

If you’re interested in cultivating a brand image that appeals to a wide variety of people, complete with accessible functionalities, CodigoDelSur can support you along the way. Our professional web designers and developers can revamp your website with a new look and feel that upholds your brand’s image while thrilling and engaging your audience.

Since 2007, CodigoDelSur has helped nearly 200 US-based startups design and develop a wide range of mobile apps and websites. Our team of web developers leverages their technical expertise and knowledge of usability, engagement, and growth hacking to scale your business exponentially.

Through the consistent creation of stunning, functional websites and mobile applications, CodigoDelSur is rising to the forefront of our industry. We’re always ready to apply the latest developments in new, exciting technologies and designs to create valuable user experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more.

Ready for a website that makes your brand accessible to all audiences? Contact our team today and find out how we can revolutionize your brand’s digital experience!