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Color Coding

Color coding, with no other method of differentiation; appropriate alt tags and additional method of differentiation besides color should be added. Calendar entries, or other aspects of your course, need to have other differentiation methods besides color to ensure that all users can access information that is conveyed by color differences, that is, by the use of color where each color has a meaning assigned to it. If the information is conveyed with color, the color may not be seen by users with color deficiencies or users of screen readers to navigate and decode the information presented. Providing the information conveyed with color through another visual means ensures users who cannot see color still perceive the information.

Example of Issue

An instructor is using a yellow background in their calendar to show when Quizzes are available/due and a blue background to show when Assignments are available/due. They are also changing the font color to red when they want to highlight an important calendar event. Students who have difficulty perceiving color or students with partial sight often experience limited vision. Also, older students might not be able to see the color well and some students only use text-only, limited –color or monochrome displays and browsers to access information presented only in color.

Color Coding Example


Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.
1.4.1 Use of Color (Level A)

Example of Standard in Action

The instructor provides alt tags and text descriptions for students who might not be able to see the color coding they did in the course calendar.

Color Coding Example
Q for Information about Quizzes
A for Information about Assignments
* displays in red and indicates important calendar events

Locating the Issue in Your Course

  • Go to the calendar section of your course.
  • Confirm if you used color coding for calendar events.
  • If color coding was used, create a text symbol for that event. For example, for any events that inform students of quizzes enter the letter Q for the event.
  • Create a symbol legend that lets students know what the letter next to the events signify.

Resources to Align With Standard

WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) provides web accessibility solutions to individuals with disabilities. Links provided will give you information about the different types of visual impairments, such as blindness, colorblindness and low vision and how to make the web more accessible to users with visual disabilities.

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