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An ADA Compliant Website Should Allow Users to Adjust Font Sizes and Colors

An ADA Compliant Website Should Allow Users to Adjust Font Sizes and Colors

01 October 2018

Recently we published an article on our blog discussing the importance of meeting ADA compliance standards for images you use on your website. But the ADA doesn’t just pertain to website images—it affects a wide variety of other types of content and design elements on your site, including the text.

Vision-impaired users of your site might have a hard time reading smaller font sizes, or fonts that are specific colors if they do not properly contrast with the background of your website. Therefore, you should allow your users to adjust font sizes and colors.

Your website designer should style your site to include relative sizes for the text on your site. It’s also a good idea to avoid using inline styling. Some CMS websites include full “What you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editors that allow you to adjust your fonts, font sizes, colors and more all on the fly, but you should not use this functionality if you want people to be able to adjust font sizes and colors to improve usability for their own specific needs.

Achieving compliance

Fortunately, a lot of browsers have features that allow users to zoom in. As a general rule, text should be able to be resized without assistive technology up to 200 percent without loss of content or functionality.

Other techniques can be used to achieve compliance. For example, you could use a style switcher to increase font size of text elements. You could also use relative measurements for font sizes, such as percentages rather than the standard sizing. You could also provide controls on a given page that allow your users to incrementally change the size of all the text on the page up to 200 percent.

With regard to the colors used in text, the biggest issue is not so much the color used (though that can be an issue for some color blind people) but the contrast with the background. There should be a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 between the text (or images of text) and the background behind it if the font is less than 18 point if not bold and less than 14 point if bold. The ratio must be at least 3:1 if the font is more than 18 point and not bold and more than 14 point if bold.

You might opt to not specify a background or text color, and ;provide a style switcher to allow users to increase the contrast between the text and background if they wish.

For more information about ADA standards for font size and color contrast, contact us today at IDMI.Net. Our team provides ADA compliance services for our web design clients.

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