To ensure that both low vision and colorblind users can access your site properly, there should be proper contrast between the foreground and the background. Avoid using color alone to convey information.

Color Contrast

Sufficient contrasts between foreground text and the background is needed so it can be read by people with moderate low vision. The contrast recommendations are listed as a ratio of foreground to background.

WebAIM's Contrast Checker tool shows that the WashU red color has a contrast ratio of 7.74 to 1
WebAIM’s Contrast Checker tool allows users to see what the contrast ratio of their selected text color is so they can adjust it to be the correct contrast.

Normal Text

Requires a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1

Large Text

Large-scale text has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1. Large text is defined as at least 14 point (18.66 pixels) and bold, or 18 point (24 pixels) or larger.


Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.

User Interface Components

Requires a minimum contrast ratio of 3:1. Examples of user interface components include: buttons, checkboxes, dropdown menus, arrows.

Graphical Objects

Parts of graphics required to understand content, such as a bar chart, also must have a minimum contrast ratio of 3:1. Exceptions for when a particular presentation of a graphic is essential to the information being conveyed.

Reference: 1.4.3 Contrast Minimum, 1.4.11: Non-test Contrast

WashU Sites have been designed to meet color contrast standards so you should not try to manually change font colors as it may cause accessibility issues. However, if you are adding custom logos, graphics, or graphs, you should test the contrast between the text and background.


If you need to test color contrast, there are several free tools available:

Use of Color

Avoid using color alone to convey information, indicating an action, or prompting a response. Color blind users may have difficulty discerning differences in color.

Toptal's Color Blind Web Page Filter shows a side-by-side example of how a group of colors will appear to someone with Protanopia color blindness
Toptal’s Colorblind Web Page Filter allows users to see what their site will look like to those with four different types of color blindness: Protanopia, Deutanopia, Tritanopia, and Greyscale/achromatopsia.

Graphs and charts

Graphs and charts can be hard to understand when only color is used for labeling.

The addition of textures, patterns, or shapes along with high contrast colors can help communicate the information. One way to test this is through printing out your chart or graph in black and white to see if you can still understand the information. Another method is checking with a color blind web page filter.

Reference: 1.4.1 Use of Color