Nugget #7: Controlling Color

Use More Than Color to Highlight or Differentiate Pieces of Information

Although adding different colors can help point out key details or differentiate between different pieces of information, make sure that you don’t solely use colors to convey information.

Color is often used to point out key details or to differentiate between different pieces of information, but this can cause accessibility issues with screen readers, those with color sensitivities, and general confusion of meaning or importance. Make sure you do not only rely upon color to convey meaning, importance or differentiation of information. Also note, it is a common misconception that Red/Green color vision deficiency is the only type of color vision deficiency, but there are multiple ranges of color-perception ability.

Dig Deeper:

Consider Alternatives to Common Uses of Color

Be sure to use underline text treatment to convey hyperlinks.

Use different lines, patterns, and points, or icons to differentiate information on graphs.

Utilize alternative text and descriptive text to explain meaning if color is used to convey data in graphs, images, or digital dashboards.

Font sizes and treatment (H2, H3, Bullet Points) can be used to indicate importance, meaning, and textual structure.

Use comment or review notes when collaborating on shared documents, but be sure the application uses more than just colored highlights to alert a collaborator to your comments. Luckily, common applications like Word and Google Docs already do this.

Test Your Color Use

You can quickly scan the content and ask yourself “would this make sense in grayscale?”. You can also manually change the color filters on your system:

Macbook: You can change the color filters on your computer by navigating to System Settings > Accessibility > Display > Color Filters on. Select grayscale. Check to see whether your content is still understandable with the filter.

Windows: To change the color filter on Windows 11, navigate to Windows Logo > Settings > Accessibility > Color Filters. Select grayscale.

Use and Promote Applications that Allow Students to Control Colors

The ClassTranscribe video player allows for students to choose a color map of their choice while viewing lectures.

Microsoft Word allows a person to adjust contrast, colors, text spacing, and line focus in a document by use of the Immersive Reader option available in the View menu.

What other ways can you adjust your use of color to create a more equitable understanding of your content? Do you know of other tools that allow a person to adjust color or contrast of content? Tell us what we missed via email to

Update and Correction from Color in Education Material Nugget from 02/13/2024

We were thrilled to hear from readers last week about another color and contrast tool they find helpful and a correction we need to make.

“The TPGi Colour Contrast Analyzer [CCA] is incredibly simple, and gives immediate results when checking if a color combo is pass/fail based on [Web Content Accessibility Guidelines] WCAG. Plus it is free.”

We also got feedback that one of our suggestions missed the mark, using underlining and italics font treatment on slides. Our reader suggested a resource for Designing Slides for People With Dyslexia which can improve everyone’s ability to understand and connect with slide content.

See you again next week!

-UDL and Accessibility Group